Local News

Nine charged in 'Occupy' foreclosure protest at Raleigh home

Posted April 9, 2012
Updated April 10, 2012

— Raleigh police arrested nine people Monday who were accused of trespassing at a foreclosed Raleigh home during a protest over predatory lending by Wall Street banks.

The protest was planned by the Occupy Raleigh and Occupy Greensboro groups.

Charles Ian Hancock, Maureen Elaine Kessler, Rafael Estrada Maya, Christopher Stella, Elizabeth Zykowski, Kurt Zehnder, Ryan Thompson, Rachel Powell and Margaret Schucker were all taken to the Wake County jail and charged with second-degree trespassing.

The former homeowner, Nikki Shelton, bought the house at 2633 Pebble Meadow Lane in 2006, she said.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said the house was padlocked by the Wake County Sheriff's Office in April 2011 and that Shelton was notified over the weekend that, since it had been one year, all of her belongings had to be removed.

"Yesterday was the last day they said I could retrieve my belongings or it would be considered trash," Shelton said. 

Nikki Shelton Raleigh foreclosure rally leads to seven arrests

The Occupy groups said they planned the rally because of evidence of robo-signing – an illegal procedure by mortgage industry employees to initiate improper foreclosures – in Shelton's case.

"Wall Street finance tanked the economy and made so many people jobless," said Jeff Warren, a member of Occupy Greensboro.

Protesters said they entered the home to help Shelton retrieve her belongings.

"We have to push the envelope, we have to push the limits so that things then go to court," said Occupy Greensboro member Audrey Berlowitz.

It wasn't clear whether authorities had substantiated claims that Shelton was the victim of robo-signing.

Sughrue said that officers knew about the planned protest at the home and performed a security check around 9 a.m.

At that time, they found several people had broken into the home and several others were on the property.

Around 2:15 p.m., after confirming that the current property owner had not authorized protesters to be on the property, officers proceeded with ending the demonstration inside and outside the house.

After being warned that any demonstrator who did not move to the sidewalk would be arrested, all but five obeyed officer instructions. Those five were arrested, Sughrue said.

A similar announcement was made inside the house. All but two people evacuated. 

Shortly before 7 p.m., two men arrived at the home and disregarded the "No Trespassing" signs posted on the property, Sughrue said.

Those four people were also arrested.


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  • jenjengirl89 Apr 11, 2012

    Also, the Deed of Trust image at Wake Co. Register of deeds website shows clearly that both parties (former owner and ?spouse?) clearly signed off on the variable rate mortage in 2006. What exactly was "predatory lending"?

  • jenjengirl89 Apr 11, 2012

    Interesting, Wake County tax and deed records reveal that the property was sold on the courhouse steps by the creditor's agent in December 2010. Owner records also show a male co-owner and a different last name for the former female owner in the WRAL story. Something is fishy and apparently no fact checking was done by the reporters.

  • tran Apr 11, 2012

    "It is amazing the level of ignorance expressed in some of these comments."

    And every time a story about foreclosures appears the same sanctimonious remarks are recycled.

    "There are a few at the top taking advantage of you and here you are defending those robbing you blind."

    I'm reminded of a quote by an unknown but astute source. "Beggars don't envy millionaires. They envy other beggars with better shoes."

  • jgilchr Apr 10, 2012

    So robosigning and forged loan documents don't mean anything to you guys? Mortgage fraud on the part of the big banks, which helped tank the economy doesn't bother you? It is amazing the level of ignorance expressed in some of these comments. Wake up people! There are a few at the top taking advantage of you and here you are defending those robbing you blind. I am trying to figure out when it was we lost the ability to think and do the research in this country.

  • djh2122 Apr 10, 2012

    I feel the same way another poster did her hair is done!!! she knew this day was coming so if your not making any payments for one year or longer save your money to move else where that is common sense!! Its always the other person. sigh

  • bill0 Apr 10, 2012

    "The bank is well within there rights to foreclose even if it means they may lose. These folks have no right to stay. This is the risk you take when you borrow money."

    While that is all true, I would expect a little better behavior from banks - especially since we JUST bailed them all out. They are collectively showing a lot let compassion for americans than america showed to them.

    The real problem with a lot of the posts on this thread is the total lack of compassion. These guys weren't deadbeats looking to scam the system. Both of them worked. 1 got hurt, so the fell behind on their bills. I'm just amazed at all the "christians" that come out of the woodwork on this website to kick them when they are down.

  • loprestw Apr 10, 2012

    barbstillkickin, yep there are disease that make one gain weight and lazy so they don't have to pay their mortgage, its called.... analglocoma, they can't see their back side going to work!

  • barbstillkickin Apr 10, 2012

    This is so sad. How dare you loprestw say what you said about her missing a meal. Please you do not have to eat to much to become heavy. They do have illnesses you can get that will cause weight gain. You are pitiful and do not even need to respond. The OCCUPY group does nothing for anybody but get them in the news. There are so many people losing homes due to lack of jobs. Getting her hair done. Please I have done my hair for years. Try thinking for a change. People who have very little income compared to what they had when they purchased their home lose what they worked very hard for. I feel for everyone who is going through this. How dare you criticize her because of what is on her outsides. She is an American just like you so show some respect.

  • killing_me_softly Apr 10, 2012

    I sympathize with the woman but what again is the purpose of this Occupy group? Have they actually mad a difference since they became squatters? Please shed some light.

  • mrman2a Apr 10, 2012

    Thank Barney and Frank for passing a law to make banks leand money to people that can't make the payments.Obamas buddies.