‘Squatter’ a wanted man after no-show in Pitkin County court
A convicted felon who insisted on defending himself at trial for trying to assert squatter’s rights on a Mountain Valley home last spring did not show up Monday for a pre-trial hearing and is now a wanted man.
District Judge Chris Seldin issued a $100,000 cash only bond for Isaac Brehm, 27, and directed court officials to begin proceedings to forfeit Brehm’s $25,000 property bond in the case, for which his mother put up her house.
Brehm is also wanted in Garfield and Mesa counties on arrest warrants related to minor, misdemeanor charges, Seldin said.
A friend of Brehm’s who attended Monday’s hearing said Garfield County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshal’s officers have been sent recently to pick up Brehm, though “he beats it out the back door” when they arrive, the man said. Brehm is in DeBeque and “just doesn’t want to go to jail,” the man said.
Brehm and another man were arrested in March for allegedly living at the home on Mountain Laurel Drive, selling off property from it, driving the owner’s car, possession of stolen goods and possession of heroin. At the time, Brehm told Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies he took “adverse possession” of the home in December 2018, though he was not the homeowner and didn’t know the homeowner.
Brehm, who said he plowed snow from the home’s driveway and did landscaping for two years, directed deputies to a metal container that featured a seven-page affidavit asserting adverse possession. The doctrine, which dates back to English common law, states that if a person occupies a property for a certain period without the owner ejecting them, the person can exercise title over the land, according to legal websites.
Stolen goods, including a motorcycle, were found at the home, and a deputy estimated that Brehm and the other man did $25,000 worth of damage to the home.
Brehm faces felony charges of burglary, theft, criminal mischief, drug possession and aggravated motor vehicle theft.
Throughout his case, Seldin repeatedly urged Brehm to obtain legal representation, though Brehm ignored the advice.
Brehm has three previous felony convictions, including burglary, and was on probation at the time of his arrest for at least one of those convictions, a prosecutor has said.
Indicted Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters turned herself in to Pitkin County law enforcement authorities on Thursday after an arrest warrant had been issued.
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