PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- Two men in northern Arizona are in custody for allegedly trying to reclaim a foreclosed home outside Prescott and removing all of the legal owner's property.
Yavapai County Sheriff's officials say 57-year-old Brent Ten Pas and 60-year-old Steve Armstrong are being held on suspicion of theft, burglary and criminal damage.
They say the men allegedly put up signs reading "Private Property/No Trespassing" around the home in Groom Creek.
The homeowner purchased the home from a bank in August 2012, furnished it and was using it as a secondary residence.
Authorities say Ten Pas and Armstrong allegedly boarded up the house, installed a security camera, changed the locks and placed the homeowner's belongings in a Prescott Valley storage unit.
The deputy who was investigating the case eventually located final judgment documents dated in February of 2012 ordering Ten Pas and Armstrong to vacate the property as it had been awarded to the bank.
Several attempts to locate the suspects in the area were unsuccessful, including contact with friends and associates of both suspects. Phone messages from the deputy also went unreturned.
The victim received a letter from both suspects attempting to explain their actions, apologizing for causing the victim trouble, and blaming the bank for an unmerited foreclosure. They told the victim, “in effect, you had just bought a stolen car,” and we were just trying to get it back. The letter concluded by indicating they would stop the process to regain the home.
On Feb. 28 the deputy obtained criminal warrants for Ten Pas and Armstrong charging Theft, Burglary, and Criminal Damage. Also on that day, deputies arranged a meeting with both suspects at a Prescott area attorney’s office where they were arrested on the warrant. Ten Pas and Armstrong were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on the indicated charges.