A Maryland man who allegedly broke into a Bethesda mansion that he said belonged to him was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on charges of burglary, conspiracy, attempted theft and identify fraud.
The charges against Lamont Butler, 28, of Waldorf stem from an alleged break-in Jan. 3. Butler’s girlfriend, Sakita Holly, 34, who is accused of breaking and entering with Butler, was indicted on charges of burglary and conspiracy.
(Courtesy of Prince George's County Police Department) - Booking photo of Lamont Butler.
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Butler said the Bethesda mansion belonged to him because he is a “Moorish American national,” one of a number of self-described “sovereign” groups popping up across the country. According to court records, Butler said he was entitled to the mansion, which was unoccupied but for sale, because the property belonged to “his people and his tribe.”
Authorities think differently.
“We do not allow people to unilaterally begin claiming themselves as lawful owners by squatting on someone’s property,” said John McCarthy, the state’s attorney for Montgomery County. “It’s a form of lawlessness that in a civilized society you can’t allow.”
Police allege that Butler used fake names and documents to claim the home on Natelli Woods Lane, which has an estimated value of $6 million, records show. Police said he left no damage and took nothing from the palatial mansion.
Other cases of self-styled Moorish American nationals who’ve tried to claim unoccupied or foreclosed homes have surfaced across the country, police said.