MURRYSVILLE (KDKA) – A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday morning for a man who allegedly took down a “for sale” sign on a $625,000 Westmoreland County home and moved in.

Frederick Cooper Harris III, of Wilmerding, had toured the Murrysville home with a real estate agent on April 5.

According to police, Harris broke a garage door window, took down the “for sale” sign and moved in with a sleeping bag and groceries.

“I put my faith in God, that’s the real story,” Harris told reporters outside of court.

Trina Orlando: “Where’d you get the keys to the house?”

Harris: “Uh …courier.”

Reporter: “Did someone let you live there?”

Harris: “I talked to the real estate agent and told him I’d send the money over to the real estate office.”

Andy Sites, a general contractor, is a friend to the owners of the house. He was hired to keep an eye on the house until it was sold.

When he went to check on the house, he realized there was a car in the garage and someone was inside.

“He presented himself to me as some sort of pastor – he said, ‘I’m pastor so-and-so or something,’ and said he had permission from the real estate agent to stay there,” Sites said. “So I don’t know if he was just playing a scam game or I really don’t know what he was doing.”

Sites immediately called police. When they arrived, they saw the suspect’s personal belongings throughout the house. Harris was found hiding in a bathroom closet.

The realtor says she never gave the suspect a key and did not have them delivered through a courier.

The hearing was continued until May 10 to give Harris enough time to find an attorney and get a mental evaluation.


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