Imagine stopping by a relative’s house and finding strangers have moved in, with an elaborate plot to acquire the house legally. That’s exactly what happened to a Davidson area family and their historic $2,000,000 home.

According to the police, a couple who claim allegiance to the “Moorish Nation” used a hide-a-key to illegally enter the home, and proceeded to move in. They unloaded a 26 foot U-Haul and parked their car in the garage. After moving into the house, they filed a quit claim deed with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds claiming they had legal cause and ownership of the property.

When a member of the Knox family found the couple at the home, they called the Davidson police, confronting 30-year old Turmaine Thorne and 35-year-old Taqiyah Barber who reasserted their claim on the house. After obtaining permission from the owners, the police entered the home and arrested the couple for trespassing.

The investigation is still ongoing, and if history is any indication this might only be the first chapter.

In 2016, a self-described Moorish National Group was arrested for squatting in an $800,000 home in Piper Glen. The tumultuous back and forth between the squatters and the neighborhood included the squatters claiming they were leasing the home from a Hungarian entertainer and, in another incident, claimed they were housing a diplomat. After the neighbors, HOA, and realtors complained, and the group was evicted more than once, the squatters were finally arrested. This follows a pattern of members targeting expensive homes that are vulnerable to squatters. Vacant, foreclosed, up for sale—the members move in and then file court actions to hold their ground as long as possible.

The Moorish Nation began as a national and religious organization under the leadership of Noble Drew Ali in New Jersey in 1913. The modern-day group calls for potential members to join to become a “True American Citizen”. Some radical offshoots reject federal, state and local laws as well as property rights, encouraging squatters rights. Since its inception, the group has often been divided by charismatic leaders.

It seems insane that anyone would think to steal a home, but apparently it’s not impossible.

Stay tuned with neighborhood drama and other news on my blog here!