Local News

Man charged with breaking into foreclosed Wake Forest home he bought

Posted June 12, 2014

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • greeniz76 Jun 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Let's look at that in a different scenario:
    You come upon a dead body laying in the street, you pick up the bloody knife, someone calls the police, and they have no right to question you? It looks like you committed the crime and you were "caught" holding the weapon, and you say the police shouldn't suspect you? Furthermore, they find that you have been convicted for murder previously and you don't feel that these cirumstances combined justify an arrest? The police speak to you because they suspect you MAY have committed a crime or because you have been observed in a situation that looks suspicious. The police do not decide whether you committed the crime or not, but simply if there sufficient reason to charge you with a crime. This man refused to prove he was rightfully forcing his way into the property, refused to prove his identity, and refused to cooperate in general. He got what he deserved for being so hatefully obnoxious.

  • Lightfoot3 Jun 18, 2014

    "SOmeone had tried to break in on my mom while she was home alone. She dialed 911" - Minarchist

    Straw man, that's not the scenario presented. What if she's asleep and doesn't know it? Should the police just leave and let the guy continue breaking in?

    "If I suspect someone is breaking into my neighbors home I get a description, license plate number, ect. If they start carrying out personal items Ill call the police" - Minarchist

    So if they take the stuff out the back so you can't see it, you'll never call the police, even though you suspected a burglary was in progress? That's just cray-cray.

  • nufsaid Jun 16, 2014

    I applaud those that are vigilant of the rights of citizens. But I do think that this guy based on the circumstances has no leg to stand on regarding his desire to sue the police department. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything. That may be a good thing. But I do think that this lawsuit may well belong in the frivolous category. I doubt he will find an attorney to press his case.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    What if these folks just *leave* something?...like illegal items that they call the police on your for...or something that's not easily detected. (recording devices, powder in your food, a virus)

    What if an ex-friend just destroys all of your treasured heirlooms, photos, mother's ashes and pets that, in terms of cash value, are maybe worth the insurance deductible?

    Are you a member of the Anti-Neighborhood Watch? A card-carrying No-Snitcher? Because criminals would love you as a neighbor. I mean, that guy could be shooting up his own house from his car in the street, right?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    "But, officer, that's not my weed in my pocket... No problem. No need to apologize. You're welcome. You have a nice day too. Buh-bye."

  • LuvsThePack Jun 13, 2014

    Here's the thing. Cops see a guy drilling a lock. There are only two possibilities:

    1) He has a legal right to be drilling that lock,or
    2) He is drilling that lock without a legal right to do so.

    Our resident civil rights folks seem to think it is OK for the cop to investigate as long as an illegal act is being performed. If the drilling is being done LEGALLY, then by golly, the cops have no business investigating it.

    But here's the rub: The cops just see a guy drilling a lock. They don't know what is happening UNTIL they investigate. And they have reasonable suspicion since drilling a lock is pretty much the way 0.00000001% of us choose to enter our homes.

    We should all be happy (if we were drilling it legally) that police are serving and protecting by ASKING us when they see us doing such a thing. Because MUCH more often than not, such an act is an illegal act. And as long as they don't violate my rights in the process, there is absolutely no problem with investigating me.

  • kiki2 Jun 13, 2014

    View quoted thread

    How do you expect the police to prove anything if he won't even show them his id?? Ridiculous. Maybe we should all just go pick the lock of a million dollar home and claim we own it...I mean, our word is good right? The man could've very easily remedied the situation and he chose not to cooperate. He gave his name which does NOT show up as the owner of the property. He could've given the company name or explained it but he chose not to do that...

  • LuvsThePack Jun 13, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You're the only one saying "prove they're innocent". No one ever has to prove their innocence, even in a court of law (except for civil court, where you can lose due to a preponderance of evidence). The state has the burden of proving guilt.

    We get that. You're huge into civil rights.

    But when police have probably cause or reasonable suspicion, they are legally allowed to investigate a situation. No laws are broken, and no rights are violated. If someone doesn't want to answer them, they are perfectly free to plead the fifth and not say another word. But they face being arrested/detained while warrants are obtained. So it really is up to them. If you're somewhere you are legally allowed to be, then what is the big deal with telling them who you are and showing them the deed that you're holding in your hand. We all get it -- you don't HAVE to do that. But it sure is easier than being arrested, isn't it?

  • Brian Jenkins Jun 13, 2014

    No wonder our civil liberties are being destroyed slowly. People dont even know they have them in the first place!

  • Brian Jenkins Jun 13, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Someone gets it! Some here will try to "win". Stay tuned!