A SWAT team arrested a Los Angeles man who police say identified himself as part of an extremist group and tried to drive a woman out of her home claiming it was his ancestral property.
Officers responding to a burglary call on the 100 block of Ivy Street were told by the homeowner that four men had changed the locks and claimed to have legal ownership of the vacant home around 12 p.m. Thursday, Newark Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara said.
When the owner approached the home with a locksmith, they were stopped by the men, who allegedly showed paperwork proving that they had legal residency, O’Hara said.
The men, who claimed to be sovereign citizens of the Al Moroccan Empire, told police that their status allowed them access to the home, authorities said.
The men were asked to leave after officers determined that the victim, who was visiting to prepare to make renovations, was the true owner of the property, authorities said.
Hubert A. John, 39, returned to the home around 2:40 p.m. and set up a Moorish flag in the window before the locks were changed, O’Hara said.
John was subsequently arrested by the Newark Police Emergency Services Unit, who charged him with criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass and terroristic threats, authorities said.
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