Officer Fired After Entering Woman's Bedroom to Serve Notice for Overgrown Lawn

A Georgia woman was sleeping soundly in her bed when a compliance officer allegedly walked right into her home -- and into her bedroom -- to deliver a violation notice for her grass being too long.

Erica Masters of Martinez, Ga., was scared half to death when she was awakened by Jimmy Vowell, a county code compliance officer, standing in her bedroom doorway and yelling at her to get up and sign the notice, ABC affiliate WJBF reported.

Vowell allegedly entered the home after he tried knocking on the door but got no response.

"I woke up, I didn't have my glasses on or my contacts in and all I see is this big burly figure standing in my doorway," Masters told ABC affiliate WJBF. "A big huge guy with a grey shirt. It scared the mess out of me."

Masters called 911, but the sheriff's department did not send authorities to her home because Vowell is a county employee.

Vowell denied entering her house, but the incident was caught on cameras in Masters' home.

"A code enforcement officer must be invited into a home," Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson told WJBF. "They simply cannot enter without that invite. There are some circumstances where there may be extenuating circumstances ... if it were a matter of life and death."

As it turns out, an overgrown lawn isn't a matter of life and death. According to the Columbia County News-Times, Vowell was fired on Monday.

"It was a violation of policy as it relates to entering a house without permission and making a false statement to a supervisor," Johnson told the newspaper.

Masters isn't sure if she's going to press charges but she does know one thing: She's going to get her lawnmower fixed.

See also:
Messy Yard Brings Jail Time for SC Woman, Then Help
Curb Appeal: 5 Low-Cost Easy Landscaping Tips
Xeriscaping: 6 steps to Natural, Low Maintenance Lawn

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