Man charged with breaking into foreclosed Wake Forest home he bought
Posted June 12
Wake Forest, N.C. — A Raleigh man said he plans to sue the Wake Forest Police Department after officers arrested him last month and charged him with trying to break into a house he had just purchased.
Xavier Earquhart received the deed to 928 Coral Bell Drive on May 16 after buying the home at a foreclosure auction and immediately went to the home and started drilling out the lock on the front door to get inside.
"You see someone trying to break into the house, and one of our neighbors called police," neighbor E.J. Stern said.
When officers arrived, an irritated Earquhart ordered them to leave his property and refused to hand over his identification or his copy of the deed to prove his ownership of the house.
"Mr. Earquhart said he was the owner of the property, but when we checked on the register of deeds (website), it did not indicate that he was the rightful owner," said Bill Crabtree, Wake Forest police spokesman. "At that point, with Mr. Earquhart's continued refusal to cooperate, they had no choice but to arrest him."
In addition to breaking and entering, he was charged with possession of burglary tools, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer.
"To say the least, it was very traumatizing," Earquhart said this week. "It shouldn't have happened, to be honest. It just shouldn't have happened."
He acknowledged he could have just handed over his ID and the deed to officers but added, "There's no law stating that I have to do that."
Neighbors said they were concerned upon learning that Earquhart has prior convictions for breaking and entering and larceny. Also, they were stunned when they found out he bought the 2,600-square-foot home for $3,800.
The home has a tax value of more than $330,000.
"I was very surprised that a house in our neighborhood could be purchased at such a price," Stern said.
The Heritage Wake Forest Homeowners Association foreclosed on the home when the previous owners failed to keep up with their monthly HOA dues and auctioned the home to settle its lien.
"Everything that occurred with this house was lawful," Earquhart said, adding that he plans to rent out the home.
A foreclosure attorney not involved with the home said Earquhart might not be able to keep the home, noting the bank that holds the previous owner's mortgage could foreclose on the property if it can't reach an agreement with Earquhart on assuming the mortgage.
Meanwhile, Earquhart has filed a complaint with the Wake Forest Police Department over his arrest.
"This is simply malicious prosecution," he said.
"We don't have any concerns about their behavior whatsoever," Crabtree said of the police officers' actions.
Wake County prosecutors will have to decide whether to pursue or drop the charges against Earquhart.