“Phrogging” is when someone secretly moves into another person’s home. Phroggers typically have nowhere else to live. So they sneak into walls, crawl spaces, and other unseen areas. As they settle in, they quietly observe the home’s occupants. As residents sleep, phroggers move around the home late at night. Sometimes they eat the homeowner’s food and move or steal their possessions.
The crime is similar to burglary or squatting but even more invasive. Even after police arrest the intruders, residents must overcome the psychological violation. These ten phrogging tales are unsettling, creepy, and even violent.
10 The Worst Phrogger
In 1986, troubled 17-year-old Daniel LaPlante was obsessed with another teen named Tina Bowen in his Massachusetts town. One night, LaPlante snuck into the Bowen family home and hid in a wall cavity next to the bathroom. Soon, he began tormenting Tina’s family. He made strange noises in the house. At night, he crawled out to eat from the refrigerator and change TV channels. When LaPlante finally revealed himself, he took Tina’s family hostage. Thankfully, they were able to escape, and Daniel fled. Several days later, he returned to the home, and police arrested him.
Two months later, LaPlante broke into the home of another family while out on bail. Once inside, he raped and killed a pregnant mother. He also murdered her two young children. LaPlante was arrested after a statewide manhunt and convicted of those crimes. He is now serving three life sentences in prison.
9 Honolulu Horror
A Honolulu couple returned home after visiting family on the mainland in 2019 to find a stranger had moved in during their week away. They called the police, who arrested Ezequiel Zayas and charged him with burglary. After he was taken into custody, the real nightmare started. The inside of their house was trashed. Bodily fluids covered the family’s furniture. The kitchen was filled with strange concoctions. All of the family’s possessions were thrown about and destroyed.
They also found disturbing messages in the home. The intruder wrote about performing surgery on the couple. Knives were laid out on a bed as if prepared for a procedure. The man reportedly wrote detailed diary entries about each family member. Police suspected he had been watching the family for “some time.” The scared couple recalled strange past events, like webcams turning on in the middle of the night and doors being inexplicably left unlocked. Horrifically, while awaiting trial in this case, Zayas allegedly killed another jail inmate in a fight. He was charged with second-degree murder.
8 It Wasn’t Squirrels
A homeowner in Oklahoma City kept hearing strange noises coming from his attic in February 2020. The man thought squirrels had somehow managed to get inside the house. Concerned about the damage the animals could do to the roof if left unchecked, he climbed up to investigate. But it wasn’t squirrels in the crawl space: it was an adult man lying on a mattress.
The horrified homeowner held the man at gunpoint and called the police to report the intruder. Cops rushed to the house and arrested the man. Upon investigating, the homeowner discovered the unwanted houseguest had used an outdoor staircase to access the attic. Once he climbed up there, the man settled in on an old mattress. Were it not for the strange creaks and groans that alerted the homeowner, he could have been up there for a long time.
7 Basement Bedfellow
In March 2021, a Seattle couple heard a strange noise coming from their basement. They suspected a burglar and called the police. Cops arrived and searched the home. Sure enough, in the basement, they found a 56-year-old man named Thomas Gene Lewellen. He was homeless and hungry and had broken into the house looking for food. Intending to stay for a while, he brought his belongings into the basement and made a bed.
He managed to remain hidden for two days before the couple heard the noise and called 9-1-1. Late at night, while the couple was asleep, he would secretly steal food. He even told cops he would sit quietly and listen to them talk and move around on the floor above him. Lewellen was initially charged with burglary. A judge later reduced the charge to criminal trespass. In late March, he was released from jail.
6 Visitor in the Night
A family in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, was shocked to find an 18-year-old man living in their attic in June 2019. The man, identified as Matthew Casto, snuck into the house undetected and lived there for some time. That ended abruptly one day when a woman living in the home saw Casto at the top of the second-floor stairs. He panicked and ran to a bedroom. By the time police arrived, he had climbed back into the attic through a crawl space.
Cops soon learned why Casto was there. The young man had allegedly been living in the attic for a while and sneaking down at night to be with the family’s 14-year-old daughter. Casto quietly moved up and down through a small door in the girl’s bedroom closet. Court documents claimed the girl was known to police and had run away before. She was reportedly the subject of “unruly child investigations” in the Tennessee town. Casto was charged with aggravated criminal trespass for his pursuit of the girl.
5 Crawl Space Crawler
In November 2021, a person driving on a street in Hopewell, Virginia, noticed a man coming out of the crawl space under a home. The man had a backpack and pillow with him. Suspicious about a possible break-in, the driver called the police. When officers showed up, the man was gone. Cops took a closer look in the crawl space and found cigarette butts and food wrappers.
For homeowner Kasey Falls, it all suddenly made sense. Falls told local media outlets that her 4-year-old had been waking up in the middle of the night and complaining of strange noises for several weeks. Nobody in the family smoked, and yet they had been finding cigarette butts strewn near the house. Falls believes the mystery man may have lived underneath their home for two or three weeks. Cops suspected he was homeless, but they never discovered his identity.
4 OnlyFans Obsession
Mauricio Damian-Guerrero became obsessed with an OnlyFans model after finding her online. At first, his stalking was limited to the digital world. But by 2022, he had discovered her home address in New Hampshire. The 20-year-old even reportedly managed to steal the woman’s keys. Once he had access to her house, Damian-Guerrero snuck up to the attic. There, he would wait quietly until the middle of the night. When the woman was asleep, he crept into her room to film her.
The woman’s mother first noticed something was wrong after hearing strange sounds coming from the attic. The police investigated, and in February, they arrested the man as he climbed out of the attic onto the home’s roof. On his phone, cops found videos of the woman that had been recorded as she slept. He admitted to entering her home at least four times. He also told detectives that he intended to put a tracking device on the woman’s car. Cops charged Damian-Guerrero with four counts of burglary, but he was bailed out of jail before trial. The woman was granted a restraining order against him.
3 Duplex Drama
Janece Galeano woke up from a nap at her home in Cape Coral, Florida, one day in April 2021 and got the surprise of her life. A man’s legs were dangling out of the attic door in her garage. She confronted the man. He apologized and told her he came in from the other side of the duplex. Then, he climbed back up into the attic. When Galeano went next door to confront her neighbor about it, the man walked out of the house and denied he had been in her attic.
Alarmed by the intrusion, Janece called the police. Officers had been to the other side of the duplex before serving warrants. When cops returned this time, they crawled into the attic and discovered $1,200 in damage. The man had allegedly climbed into his attic and broken through a dividing wall to reach Janece’s side. Cops believe he was the same man they had been seeking. He allegedly hid in Janece’s attic to avoid the police. He fled after she confronted him and before cops arrived. Thankfully for Janece, the duplex mate was soon evicted.
2 Night(s) at the Museum
In July 2022, police in Carson City, Nevada, saw a two-year-old walking alone outside the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada. When officers found the toddler’s older sister, she gave the museum as her home address. Suspicious, the officers investigated and discovered the girl was telling the truth. Inside the museum, they found a hidden living space for a family of seven. The father, Wilbert Calhoun, was the museum’s janitor. His wife was the manager. The couple and their five children had been secretly living in the building for months.
As they continued to search, cops found weapons stashed in a storage room. A police report counted an AK-47 rifle, three handguns, a short-barrel rifle, a pistol, a suppressor, ammunition, knives, and a taser. The room also included drug paraphernalia. Calhoun was arrested on weapons and child endangerment charges. The couple was both fired. Shocked board members abruptly closed the museum and pledged to investigate before reopening.
1 Celebs: They’re Just Like Us
When singer Jennifer Lopez purchased a stunning $10 million estate in the Hamptons in May 2013, real estate listings boasted her privacy was “guaranteed.” Almost immediately, she found out it was not. In August of that year, police rushed to the estate on a report of a suspicious person on the property. Once there, they arrested a 49-year-old man identified as John M. Dubis. Cops questioned him and learned he had been secretly living in the estate’s pool house for a week. Thankfully, Lopez was out of town at the time. Still, the intrusion was a shock to the singer and her family.
Dubis was charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in the case, including burglary and stalking. Cops discovered Dubis had allegedly been stalking Lopez for a while. He was known to her team, and the singer had previously been granted an order of protection against him. Fearing his dangerous obsession with the star, a judge remanded Dubis to remain in Suffolk County Jail in lieu of bail.