Squatters with plan arrested in Portland homes

Top row, from left: Alexander Ayers, Molly Garmire and Benjamin Miley. Bottom row: Kerry Cunneen and Michael Welch

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by Mike Benner and David Krough

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeBennerKGW

kgw.com

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 14 at 8:44 PM

PORTLAND – Portland police arrested five people in the past week for squatting in two homes in what is thought to be a larger movement to take over houses.

At the home on Northeast 14th Avenue, investigators said they found documents indicating the squatters would “victimize an elderly property owner.” The home also had anarchist and Occupy literature, police said.

Police said a handwritten letter in the home included the following statement:

"For the better part of 2011 the squatter community in Portland has been focused upon houses owned by an elderly bankrupt lady named [name withheld by Portland Police]. The idea was that we might have a better chance at survival if the landowner was, as our research could tell, a batty old lady and her bed ridden husband."

Police arrested 28-year-old Alexander Nicholas Ayers for theft and trespassing, 29-year-old Molly Maxine Garmire and 23-year-old Benjamin Lee Miley, also for trespassing last week.

On Monday evening, police arrested 26-year-old Kerry Cunneen and 24-year-old Michael Desmond Welch for trespassing at a home on North Minnesota Avenue.

The property owner told police that no one was supposed to be in the home. That homeowner had recently been hospitalized about the same time the squatters were in the home, police said.

Police also said they found literature about local anarchist efforts, addresses of other vacant homes, boxing and mixed martial arts equipment and literature about picking locks.

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