Imagine that you and your family have a sick, dying relative who lives out of town. You and your family go to the relative and stay until your loved one succumbs to his or her illness. Then, when you return to your family home you discover that a stranger has changed your locks and laid claim to the property because it was “abandoned.”
It sounds like bad melodrama, but is in fact what happened to a family from Springdale, Ohio, as reported by WLWT. In fact — while the specific details vary — this has happened to 11 families whose claim to their property is being challenged by Robert Carr.
Carr filed “quiet titles” on these properties, saying he has a right to claim them because the families who previously occupied the homes have forfeited their rights of ownership because they abandoned the property. Carr also expects to pay not one dime for these properties.
He told WLWT, “When you abandon a property, bam, walk away from it, ‘I ain’t never coming back. I don’t want nothing to do with it’ right? Somebody can come in, ‘Oh mine.’”*
Carr is part of the sovereign citizens movement, which could also be called “cafeteria Americans.” They believe that they have the right to pick-and-choose which laws and statues they have to follow. This belief is predicated on the idea that current local, state, and federal governments are “illegal” and have veered away from the founding fathers’ original intent.
For example, Carr filed deeds for properties that he doesn’t own, ignoring the previous deeds that are presumably somehow “less legal” than his. The family in Springdale is currently in court challenging Carr’s deed.
WLWT spoke to the FBI who said that Carr’s deeds most likely wouldn’t be upheld. Still, that doesn’t lessen the sense of violation felt by the family’s whose homes he occupied.
*No typos there; that’s the actual quote.