A 63-year-old homeless woman was arrested late Sunday afternoon after a standoff with police in which she barricaded herself into a house in the Pine Neck neighborhood in Noyac, Southampton Town police said Monday.
A 911 call came in from a neighbor at 3:25 p.m. reporting that an unknown woman had entered the house on Hampton Road. Patrol officers responded and the Southampton Town Police Crisis Negotiations Team and Detectives Unit were called in to assist.
"Multiple verbal attempts were made commanding the female to exit the home," police said in a statement Monday, but "there was no reply."
Police deployed an aerial reconnaissance drone above the house and sent a surveillance robot inside it to locate the woman. About three hours later, at 6:20 p.m., officers entered the house, found her in an upstairs bedroom, and escorted her out "without further incident." No injuries were reported. A frenzied stir unfolded on social media among residents as the police were conducting their investigation.
The woman, whose last known address was in Hampton Bays, was charged with second-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. She was released on a desk appearance ticket to await an appearance in Southampton Town Justice Court.
According to the Southampton Town tax rolls, the house on Hampton Road is listed as belonging to the Revocable Trust of William V. Williams, which is registered to an address in Havertown, Pa. Lorraine Williams, who identified herself as one of the owners, later said in a post on the NextDoor website that the house is a summer residence and that they had been planning a visit that day. "A squatter entered our home [at] approximately 2-3 a.m.," she wrote in the post, a full copy of which was obtained by The Star on Tuesday.
"How she got in is still a mystery," Ms. Williams wrote, saying that the woman "brought in about nine garbage bags full of her possessions (we learned this after she was removed) so it appears she intended to stay."
Ms. Williams described seeing something on her Ring camera and asking a neighbor to check on the house. "They were nice enough to go over and look through the window, and indeed, they saw a woman sitting in our living room. We could not have been more shocked, and we arrived at Circle Beach at 6:30 p.m. at just about exactly that time the police were in the process of removing her from the home."
Nothing was damaged, Ms. Williams said, though the woman appeared to have done some cooking in the kitchen. She apparently took a dress, which she was wearing when police escorted her out of the house.
Ms. Williams thanked her neighbors, and thanked the Southampton Town police for "their professionalism, their bravery, and their responsiveness to this urgent situation. We should all be proud of how they handled the situation for our safety and that of the community."
She noted that the officers treated the squatter, who allegedly has a history of psychiatric issues, according to police, "with respect." She also advised her neighbors to take safety precautions to protect themselves and their homes, "even in this special little community of Pine Neck, which has always been like a little paradise."
This story has been updated since it was first published.