Queens ‘Range Rover’ squatter who allegedly took over $1M house cut loose without bail as lawyer blames press for ‘whoop-whooped up’ ordeal

The Range Rover-driving squatter who allegedly took over a woman’s $1 million house in Queens and rented out rooms was cut loose without bail Thursday after pleading not guilty to a litany of charges — as his attorney angrily blamed the press for his client’s ordeal.

Brian Rodriguez, 35, of 161st Street in Flushing, stared at the floor for most of his morning arraignment on the burglary, grand larceny and criminal trespassing charges that threaten to imprison him for up to 15 years.

But his attorney, Gerald Levine, provided a more animated defense.

Queens squatter Brian Rodriguez in court for his arraignment on April 18, 2024. Gabriella Bass
Rodriguez allegedly took over a woman’s $1 million house and rented out rooms. Gabriella Bass

“The press is responsible!” Levine shouted in the courtroom. “I respectfully asked that he’d be [released on his recognizance], which is what I was told it would be before, until the press came in and whoop-whooped up the whole big to do!”

Levine also blamed the press for Rodriguez’s recently-slashed tires and his mother’s heart problems.

He told the court his client works for a company that helps the indigent, but claimed he couldn’t name the company in public.

Assistant District Attorney William Jorgenson asked Judge Toni Cimino for $100,000 bail and an order of protection for Adele Andaloro, the woman whose owns the house Rodriguez illegally took over.

He also cannot return to the Flushing home.

Rodriguez’s attorney blamed the press for his clients charges. Gabriella Bass
Rodriguez was released by the judge without bail. Gabriella Bass

Cimino granted the restraining order but released Rodriguez, a repeat offender with burglary and narcotics convictions, on supervised release and home confinement.

His next court date is May 13.

Outside the courtroom, Levine continued his wild rant to a Post reporter who asked Rodriguez for comment.

“You heard everything!” he said. “If this woman has a heart attack, it’s your fault! I’m not talking to you!”

Queens DA Melinda Katz told The Post that the case was about proving the rule of law “exists on both sides.”

Rodriguez in front his Range Rover car and the Flushing house he is allegedly squatting in. Brian Zak/NY Post

“If you walk into a house that is not yours, when you don’t have permission to be there, and claim you’ve got rights, that’s not true!” she said.

“You can’t just walk into a house that is not yours and claim you have a right to be there. Today proves it, right?”

She also said she was happy the press pushed the story into the public eye.

“It highlighted it to the public, and I’m grateful for that,” she said. “I think it’s very valuable that the press is here today also to send a clear message out: You can’t walk into a house that is not yours and just claim you have a right to be there.”

Rodriguez is facing 15 years in prison for burglary, grand larceny and criminal trespassing charges. Brian Zak/NY Post

The arraignment is another bizarre chapter in Rodriguez’s eyebrow-raising story, which began in February when Andaloro, 47, found squatters had set up shop in the $1 million home in Flushing that she’d inherited from her parents.

She returned Feb. 29 with a locksmith, the deed to the house and a local TV news crew to change the locks.

What you need to know about squatters in New York:

What are squatter’s rights in New York?

Squatters in New York state can claim a legal right to remain on a property without the owner’s permission after 10 years of living there. However, in New York City, a person only needs to be on the property for 30 days to claim squatter’s rights.

Why is it so hard to get rid of a squatter?

Squatters are allowed a wide range of rights once they have established legal occupancy, making it difficult to evict them.

How does someone become a squatter?

Some of the scenarios in which a person becomes a squatter include: a tenant refusing to pay rent, a relative of a former owner refusing to leave the property or even a stranger who entered the property and never left.

According to Manhattan-based law firm Nadel & Ciarlo, squatters must have a reasonable basis for claiming the property belongs to them and must treat the home as if they were an owner — such as doing yard work or making repairs.

How can a property owner get rid of a squatter?

A property owner must first send a 10-day eviction notice and then file a court complaint if the order is ignored. If approved by a judge, the owner can get a summons and have a sheriff evict the squatter.

Why does the law provide squatters with rights?

The law was designed to help prevent long-term tenants from getting evicted. New York City’s law was partially made in response to vacant and abandoned buildings that were becoming a blight on the city.

How can property owners protect themselves from squatters?

Owners should avoid keeping any properties vacant for an extended period of time. They should also make sure the building is secure, has adequate lighting and has surveillance cameras installed.

If a squatter does appear, owners should notify the police quickly before squatter’s rights are established.

But Rodriguez barged in during her sortie.

And when police arrived, he claimed he was the real tenant — but couldn’t prove it, Katz said in a statement.

Despite this, cops hit Andaloro with a criminal court summons for unlawful eviction because she had changed the locks without giving a new key to the person staying there.

Late last month, Rodriguez told The Post that he’s the real victim because he’d spent $25,000 fixing up the place, which he claims he found through a slick-talking man named “Ronnie Ferg” he met at a laundromat.

Ferg claimed he was a real estate agent, and hooked Rodriguez up with a lease on Andaloro’s family home for $3,200 a month.

Rodriguez quickly moved in subletters. Then Andaloro showed up, and everything went south.

Now, Rodriguez is trying to boot out the tenants, who have allegedly stopped paying rent.

And Ferg, shockingly, has disappeared entirely.

“Now I got to pay for them to leave,” Rodriguez said.

“I need a month or two to get them out,” he told The Post. “I am ready to give the house back to Ms. Adele. I’ll take the L on this one. The house really beat me up.”