Woodway, WA – Two Moorish sovereign citizens were arrested on Friday after they broke into a $4.5 million home that had recently been put on the market.
The incident occurred at about 9:05 p.m. on Dec. 18 at a gated home in the 21000-block of Chinook Road in Woodway, the Everett Herald reported.
Everett District Court records showed that police responded to the address after they received a call from neighbors who had seen people inside the vacant home and knew they didn’t belong there.
The house lies behind a metal gate in an affluent neighborhood and has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, an indoor basketball court, an indoor pool, and a four-car garage, the Everett Herald reported.
At about the same time the neighbors called the police, the security company that was monitoring the property also contacted the authorities because an alarm had been tripped inside the home.
Officers responded and found a silver car with California license plates parked outside the gate, the Everett Herald reported.
Inside the fence, officers encountered 46-year-old Marcel Maddox Bey of Mountainlake Terrace and 32-year-old Courtnie Simone Martin of Tacoma.
Martin accused the officers off trespassing on her property, KIRO reported.
The officers recognized Bey as having been recently trespassed from multiple properties in the area.
Police said the pair had put a sticker on the “For Sale” sign in front of the home that claimed they owned the multi-million dollar mansion under Moroccan law, the Everett Herald reported.
Officers collected surveillance video from the home’s security system that showed Bey and Martin inside the home.
Bey and Martin refused to confirm that they understood their Miranda rights and declined to speak with the police, the Everett Herald reported.
Both were arrested and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for residential burglary.
Bey and Martin were released on their own recognizance on Dec. 21, the Everett Herald reported.
KIRO reported that Bey has been arrested four times for trespassing since October.
Moorish sovereign citizens attempting to squat on private property has become almost commonplace in the Seattle area recently.
Residents of Edmonds and Woodway reported Moorish sovereign citizens showed up at their front doors and told them they were taking over their houses on at least six occasions since October, the Everett Herald reported.
In November, detectives in Snohomish County said a group of Moorish sovereign citizens had been knocking on doors in wealthy Seattle neighborhoods and informing the homeowners that their property belonged to them, the Daily Mail reported.
“They have basically come to say that they’re from this particular group and they’re there to repossess the home and want the people to vacate the premises,” Edmonds Police Sergeant Josh McClure said.
Police said the Moorish sovereigns cooperated with officers’ instructions and left after they were warned they could end up behind bars for trespassing, the Daily Mail reported.
The bizarre squatting attempts have been going on for years.
Authorities in Georgia arrested 33-year-old Joel Fedd in December of 2018 after he took possession of a home that had just been sold to another family, the Daily Mail reported.
In March of 2013, it took an armed SWAT team to evict a family of extremist squatters who had taken up residence in a $3 million mansion in Memphis.
The Moorish sovereign citizen movement began in the mid-1990s based on the teachings a religious sect called the Moorish Science Temple, the Daily Mail reported.
The movement taught that Moors were America’s original inhabitants and therefore entitled to a self-governing status.