RAINBOW LAKE — Foreclosure on a $520,000 Adirondack property led to the arrest of three people who refused to leave and the alleged discovery of marijuana plants and illegal guns.
Noel Prellwitz, 53; his long-time companion, Susan Laubert, 61; and their daughter, Kama Prellwitz, 23; were charged by Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies with second-degree obstruction of governmental administration this week for allegedly fighting eviction from 81 Hull Road in the Town of Brighton.
“This has been going on for years,” Deputy Sgt. Barry Cartier said. “(Prellwitz) inherited the property from his grandfather, but because of back taxes, it was bought by a man from New Jersey.”
Prellwitz owed $92,955 in unpaid taxes, dating back to 2007, according to the County Treasurer’s Office.
The waterfront property was foreclosed upon and included in the county’s June 26 land auction.
Its total assessed value is $521,500, with the 1.5 acre of land alone valued at $406,000, the Treasurer’s Office said.
Cartier said a main house and a few other buildings were crammed full of possessions that Prellwitz inherited.
The property was purchased by John Matarese of Franklin Lake, N.J., for $230,000, and he sought to have the family removed, as is his right as the new owner, Cartier said.
Deputies arrived early Monday to serve the eviction notice, which gives the occupants 72 hours to clear out.
“We do a number of evictions, but nothing like this one,” he said. Some people who get the notice “stay until the last minute, but they usually move out. But this time, this was different.
“He said he went to college for 15 years. He said he was born and raised there, and he was going to die there,” the sergeant said.
“I spent 30 minutes trying to explain to them what had to happen, but my impression is he brainwashed the women. He believes in sovereignty and doesn’t recognize the government’s authority.”
Cartier said State Police troopers were also at the property to assist since law enforcement had been told Prellwitz had weapons on the premises.
He said Prellwitz was outdoors in front of the home when they arrived so he had no opportunity to get near a weapon.
“We didn’t know there were other people there,” Cartier said, until deputies and troopers went inside, which is when they also allegedly discovered the marijuana plants.
He said the younger woman clung to her mother, refusing to leave the building, but the two were eventually removed from the property.
Seized during the incident were a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun along with “a large quantity of marijuana plants,” Cartier said.
In an eviction, deputies inventory the contents of a property, which are boxed up and placed at the curb off the property under a tarp, leaving them for owners to retrieve.
A moving company hired by the new owner of the property moved the Prellwitz-Laubert belongings, however, and the eviction was completed Wednesday night.
All three were arraigned in Brighton Town Court before Justice Nik Santagate, who sent the women to County Jail on $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 insurance bond.
Prellwitz was additionally charged with resisting arrest by deputies and sent to County Jail in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or $6,000 insurance bond.
However, State Police charged him Wednesday with criminal possession of a firearm, a felony; unlawful growing of marijuana; and criminal possession of marijuana.
Prellwitz was again arraigned in Brighton Town Court and returned to County Jail at a new bail amount — $5,000 cash or $10,000 insurance bond.
All were bailed out, Cartier said.
The family returned to court Wednesday on the obstruction charges, but Santagate was not available for additional information.
Prellwitz has a court date on Wednesday, Oct. 16, for the pot and firearm counts, police said.
“You have to have a kind heart to do stuff like this,” Cartier said of this type of arrest. “This is where they were raised. This was their home.
“I know how tough it is. It was quite an ordeal.”
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