UPPER DARBY, Pa. (WPVI) -- The two members of a purported sovereign group have been arrested for risking a catastrophe. Police say they summon their supporters from across the region to come out and prevent sheriff deputies from evicting them.
Authorities are trying to avoid another MOVE Organization-type incident decided to wait it out until things cooled down.
"This group is totally anti-government in any way, shape or form," says Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
Arrested and charged in connection with the case are 41-year-old Decorey Pitts and 43-year-old Sharon Gale, aka Sharon Tracey Gale Bey. They purport to be leaders of the Moorish Sovereigns, called Moors, who preached a radical ideology.
Chitwood says, "They're very violent. They're anti-government, they don't believe in anything that the government has to say."
Authorities say when they defaulted on their mortgage loan, the sheriff's office issued an eviction notice. Authorities say that's when the pair used social media to urge their supporters from across the tri-state area to come out and prevent deputies from entering the house at 36 North Harwood Ave. Forty to 50 people showed up.
Chitwood had visions of what happened with the MOVE organization in Philadelphia back in the 80s. He did not want a repeat of that and urged law officers to wait.
"I was very concerned," says Chitwood. "I was concerned about the safety for everybody, the neighborhood, the offices."
They waited for two months until only the two suspects and their children were in the home. They raided the place without incident at the crack of dawn Monday. Chitwood says you wouldn't believe what the woman told SWAT officers during the raid.
"You all are all under arrest, I'm making a citizen's arrest," Chitwood says the woman told them. "So needless to say, she got locked up, we didn't get locked up."
Inside the home they found a pistol grip 12-gauge shotgun. They also found a generator hooked up to a slew of car batteries that were daisy chained together hooked up to a heater on a propane tank. This apparently to generate heat and electricity. A hookup Chitwood says could have blown the neighborhood sky high.
Both have been charged with risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. Th e children have been placed with other relatives. The two people charged have a preliminary hearing set for April 3.
Police: 2 members of anti-government group arrested in Upper Darby