SPRINGFIELD -- Matthew Ceplecha and his girlfriend Hailey Arduser rented a house on west Tracy Street in Springfield because they thought it would be a good home for their soon to be born son.
"Backyard looks immaculate. It's cool back here, we just thought cool house, cool neighborhood," said Ceplecha.
Not long after moving in, though, the couple's house began losing its appeal. Some of the windows have rotted and won't open. The siding doesn't go all the way up to the roof and water seeps into the walls.
And then there is the problem under the house. "They're scattered everywhere," said Ceplecha, " 50 to 100 at least." Ceplecha found hypodermic needles in and around the house's crawl space when he was looking for a friend's dog. That was shortly after they moved in last February.
Ceplecha called his landlord. "He kept saying he was going to do something, saying he would do something, he didn't. He came over and looked at the property and said he would get back with us in 24 to 48 hours."
Nothing was done. In March, Ceplecha and Arduser told their landlord they weren't going to pay rent anymore unless the needles were cleaned up. In June--after not paying rent since March--the couple received an eviction notice.
The needles are still in the crawl space. Ceplecha and Arduser want to move now. "We're getting out of here. This isn't really suitable living conditions for a child...especially when he's up and running around and kids crawl in kitchen cupboards."
The kitchen cupboard Ceplecha referred to is exposed to the crawl space. Making matters worse, the couple said they have mice--that may be have crawled among the needles--coming up from the crawl space into their kitchen.
Ceplecha and Arduser are worried their eviction will prevent them from finding another place; they're also concerned the landlord will sue.
More than anything, though, they want the needles removed so no one else has to go through the same nightmare.
The landlord, Mark Tendai, would not go on camera, but he did say he has contacted the Drug Enforcement Agency about the needles.
He wouldn't say who he talked to, or what method of cleanup was recommended.
Tendai said he would take care of the needles within the 5 to 7 days, if the tenants cooperate. He wouldn't explain how the renters weren't cooperating.
As for the eviction notice, Tendai said he didn't know anything about it. He said the notice must have been served by a property manager who recently quit.