Society

Family of Squatters Evicted from $3M Mansion

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A family who had been occupying a $3 million mansion in Memphis, Tenn., were forced out of the house by an armed SWAT team.

On Thursday, a judge signed a warrant for police to raid the house after a grandparent of one of the six children inside asked them to intervene.

Within five minutes of the judge signing the warrant, a SWAT team arrived in an armored vehicle with officers armed with assault rifles. They smashed through the entry gates and entered the property.

The squatters claim to be “Moorish American Nationals” and consisted of a mother and her six children, from ages 14 months to 11 years old.

The mother attempted to flee the scene at 11:30 pm on Thursday with a 13-year-old child, but she was quickly arrested and charged with burglary.

The home was sitting empty for 18 months. It has four acres and a home theater and swimming pool.

Squatters were discovered when Daniel Brown came to clean the pool, which he does every week.

They broke into the home on Monday and closed the gate with a chain. On Wednesday, the bank gave them a deadline to vacate the property.

The squatters responded to the deadline by posting a note on the gate saying the bank can’t own the property, and that they had the original deed to the house and were going to take them to court. They said their indigenous ancestry gave them ownership of the house, and that they believe in “love, truth, peace, freedom and justice.”

Neighbors were shocked and angered by the squatters barging into the exclusive neighborhood

“Well, I’m stunned, really,” David Peck said.

“I know the two former owners. And I knew the house was on the market, but I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

Vallie Jo Bell, another neighbor, said, “We were just really surprised. I hope they’ll get out and maybe find another place to live.”

In 2012, the home was valued at $3.2 million.

Richard and April Rice bought the house in 2006 for $3.9 million but it foreclosed and Renasant Bank took ownership in August 2011.

It reportedly still had working utilities, but had no furniture.

Earlier in the week, the squatters were captured laughing in the window by local TV footage.

WMCTV