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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

June 15, 2010 at 3:22 PM

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Alleged squatter arrested at Kirkland mansion

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times columnist Danny Westneat:

A woman who allegedly squatted in a Kirkland mansion for more than a week was arrested Tuesday by Kirkland police and booked into jail. She will likely be charged with criminal trespass, said Det. Allan O'Neill of the Kirkland police.

Squatters moved into the empty 8,000-square-foot home on the night of June 4. The home had been in foreclosure and owned at times by two different banks. It is currently for sale for $3.3 million.

Earlier, police had said the dispute was a civil matter between the squatters and First Citizens Bank of North Carolina, which owns the house. But an article in The Seattle Times on Sunday and coverage by other news outlets prompted an outcry for police to take action.

"It took us that long to work with the bank, to review the deeds, tax logs and utility bills," O'Neill said. "We determined the bank was the rightful owner."

The woman had claimed she owned the home, but submitted to arrest willingly. A man and children who had been seen in the home were not there when police arrived Tuesday.

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