Squatters arrested after standoff at Happy Valley home

Lee’s Summit Journal

Police surrounded a Happy Valley home with weapons ready and using loudspeakers in a two-hour standoff with two people who apparently were squatting there late Tuesday, police said.

Arthur Crawford, 40, and Tonya Coleman, 43, face charges of residential burglary and resisting arrest in connection with the incident at 1611 30th St., said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht. Vander Yacht said a neighbor called 911 about 9:20 p.m. after seeing people inside what was supposed to be a vacant home.

Police checked the home and saw Crawford and Coleman in the basement, but the pair hid in the attic when officers knocked, Vander Yacht said.

“Since the two subjects were behaving in a furtive manner and not coming out, a search warrant was obtained,” he said. Officers in patrol cars surrounded the home with their emergency lights activated and issued orders over a loudspeaker for the pair to leave the home, he said.

Crawford and Coleman eventually emerged from the attic and surrendered to officers without further incident, Vander Yacht said. They were booked into Whatcom County Jail.

Neighbors using social media reported unusual police activity in the neighborhood, including officers with dogs and weapons drawn.

“The number of officers present was driven by the unusual behavior of the two people in the home,” Vander Yacht said. “Officer safety is always a priority for us.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty