Over the years I’ve used that phrase as a “code word” for trouble during an eviction. I’ve told property managers, and maintenance people if they ever hear me say that phrase to a tenant that means trouble. We’re going to back off, and I’m calling in the troops! Here’s the story of where that phrase came from.

I’ve addressed the first part of this story in an earlier blog about being careful, as anything can happen. I spoke about pulling up at night to preserve an eviction that was scheduled for 4 p.m. the next day. Two “look-outs” came up to my car, one-by-one, to see why I was there. They were acting like nothing was up, but I knew what they were doing. This property was on a long cul-de-sac which makes the drug dealers feel safer. It’s easier for them to see who, me in this case, is coming into their territory.

I relaxed in my car to let them get the word out as to what I was doing. I even gave them the address, and apartment number, of where I was going. When the resident opened the door I could see drugs clearly on a book stand behind him. I explained I would be there the next day at 4 p.m., which was when I was scheduled to meet the locksmith.

Because of what I’d seen I took Mesa PD with me the next day, three officers, but I didn’t expect him to be there. But he was! When he opened the door the drugs were still there, but now, so was a black 9 mm handgun. He was instantly taken into custody. They brought him away from the front door to frisk, and handcuff him. He was so strong, that he was able to squirm out of the grasp of two officers, and ran into me. This was the first time I ever had to do this, but I full-on tackled him to the ground. Without the other three officers, I would have never been able to keep him there. He was too strong and under the influence! It took all four of his to cuff him, and even then we had to use two sets of cuffs because we couldn’t get his hands together behind his back.

Only later, did I realize there had been a language barrier, so he never understood what I’d said to him about returning the next day.

We found a sizable amount of drugs, which caused him to be charged with multiple felonies. I remember being at Superior Court ready to testify on behalf of the State but never got called.

So, to any of you who’ve done evictions with me, that’s where that phrase comes from!

That was also the last day I ever did an eviction wearing a suit!

– Ed Malles