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Edmonds PD make burglary arrests related to Moorish Group activity

By Woodway Police Department some additions by Mario Lotmore | Press Release

Woodway, WA, December 21, 2020 – Two suspects claiming affiliation with a Moorish National group were arrested late Friday evening after burglarizing a home in the Town of Woodway. A 46-year-old male from Mountlake Terrace and a 32-year-old female from Tacoma were booked into the Snohomish County Jail and a suspect vehicle was impounded as evidence in the case. 

The incident unfolded around 9pm Friday at a residence in the 21700 block of Chinook Road in Woodway. A neighbor called to report two subjects in the house, which was vacant and had just sold.  A few minutes later, the alarm company called and reported multiple trips. Officers responded to the call as a burglary in progress. The first officer to arrive found a vehicle parked outside the locked gate to the residence.

Two suspects were seen on the other side of the gate on the private property. Arriving officers jumped the fence and were immediately met by the female suspect accusing officers of trespassing on her property. The male suspect was recognized by officers as having been recently trespassed from several area homes after claiming affiliation with the Moorish group. Both subjects were detained and remained uncooperative throughout the investigation.  

The suspects had posted a notice on the property’s For-Sale sign indicating their new ownership of the property under Moroccan Law. Officers located eyewitnesses and collected statements indicating that the suspects had entered the victim’s residence. They were also able to collect video surveillance footage showing the suspects inside and established probable cause for their arrest.

The vehicle the suspects arrived in was impounded pending application for a search warrant in an effort to locate additional evidence. Officers credit the help from alert neighbors in the area who were aware of previous news stories about this type of activity and called 911.

Since October of this year, there have been five other incidents in Edmonds and Woodway involving individuals claiming affiliation with this group. One of the subjects arrested in this incident had been present and/or was criminally trespassed during the other investigations.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Group, “The Moorish sovereign citizen movement is a collection of independent organizations and lone individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the antigovernment sovereign citizens movement, which believes that individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments.”

Edmonds Police provide contract police services to the Town of Woodway and will be the primary agency for the investigation. The incident is under Woodway case 20-0540.   

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