LEHMAN TOWNSHIP, PIKE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Seven people were arrested in Pike County, accused of plotting and executing a plan to take over a private community by evicting residents.
Investigators say five of the individuals were hired by a woman who claims the land belongs to Native Americans. This story sounds like a script out of a Hollywood movie. The so-called “take over” happened Monday and ended as quickly as it got started.
State police say seven people entered the private community of Pine Ridge near Bushkill Monday just after noon. According to court paperwork, five of them were hired by Tonia Scott as tribe police. Investigators say together, their mission was to take over two Pike County communities.
“She claims she is Native American and is indigenous to the area. She feels that the residence of Pine Ridge and also Saw Creek is her home, old homestead,” State Police Dunmore Trooper Robert Urban said.
State police say the individuals made their way to the clubhouse where public safety officers are stationed. Upon arrival, employees felt something was off and locked the doors. According to court paperwork, the male individuals forcefully gained entry by smashing windows and doors.
Troopers say Musa Abdur-Rahim handcuffed an officer, put him in the backseat of his own vehicle, held him hostage and then drove at high speeds to the entrance. Five other individuals stole the Pine Ridge public safety vehicle and followed.
All but one of the people involved were confronted by a maintenance crew blocking the road. That’s when state police arrested six of the seven.
“That community is so big that when you are able to block an entrance like that, it just forced them to try to drive around the community which ultimately, one of them got lost. So that way it was easier for us to apprehend,” Urban said.
Many residents were prevented from entering the private community and others like Mariah Graner from leaving her home.
“The neighbors started calling each other. We’re trying to get information and then that’s when we found out there was a lot of state troopers at the clubhouse and they had their rifles out and it was a serious situation,” Graner said.
The so-called tribe police end goal according to court paperwork was to evict families from their home. Scott promised Abdur-Rahim any home of his choice.
She would pay him $1,000 a week for the community security job plus $5,000 for any commercial property on the land and that he can hire whoever he likes.