MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The screams of squatters woke up a neighborhood this morning in Mount Carmel Township, prompting a large police response.
A neighbor captured these screams as police broke down the front door of 808 West Fifth Street around 9 Wednesday morning. Between the screams and the police working to knock down the door, it was quite the alarm clock for this Mount Carmel Township community.
“Today, she woke up the whole patch (neighborhood). Anyone who was sleeping – oh she woke them up,” said a neighbor.
Kathleen Claxton and Kevin Gilgeous were arrested for illegally squatting in this home. Children and Youth took their 5-year-old daughter, while Claxton and Gilgeous took a ride to the police station.
Records show that the couple did own the house back in 2015, but they never paid the taxes, so it was sold in a judicial sale – but they never moved out. A new owner bought the house in July, and he wanted them out. But the couple put up a good fight. As police began breaking down the door, the couple barricaded the front entrance with furniture and their bodies.
When police got to them, the couple was pepper sprayed and tased.
The couple claims to be “sovereign citizens”. Meaning they believe the United States government is illegitimate, resulting in them not abiding by the laws. Neighbors say they were in the house for a few years, but there was no electricity or running water.
“They would go out late at night 2,3 in the morning and take showers when it was raining. There were tanks of green water out back. And I hate to say it, they were going to the bathroom out in the yard,” said Joseph Augustine, neighbor. “It’s a sad case here, but thank god the township they did its job. They got that child out of there.”
Claxton and Gilgeous are charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, endangering a child, public nuisance and disorderly conduct. They remain behind bars at this time.