Massachusetts Woman Unleashes Bees on Deputies Serving Eviction on Home Not Belonging to Her, Cops Say
Multiple officers were stung in the incident, Washington Post reported.
Rorie Susan Woods, 55, of Hadley, was arrested after cops say she attacked them with a swarm of bees, WCVB reported.
The deputies were enforcing the eviction in Longmeadow during the morning of Oct. 12 when Woods, who was driving a blue Nissan Xterra and was towing manufactured bee hives behind her SUV, arrived on the scene, Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi said in a statement.
Cops say Woods then unleashed the bees.
"Woods smashed the styrofoam lid to one hive tower and as the bees escaped, the deputy sustained several stings on his face and head. She then flipped the entire hive tower off of the flatbed, causing the bees to become extremely agitated, and swarm the area, stinging several members of the Sheriff's Office," the Hampden County Sheriff's department said in a statement.
"As she donned a beekeeper suit and moved a hive close to the door of the home, deputies swooped in and arrested her. As she was taken into custody, she was yelling for another protester to take care of her dog, which she said was unfed, and left in the SUV with thousands of bees swarming outside of it," the department wrote.
"To be clear, Woods does not live in the Longmeadow home, which has been in various stages of the eviction process for around two years," they continued. "Woods was attempting to stop the court-ordered eviction, but she failed. She did, however, cause injuries to several employees of the department including one staff member who was hospitalized after being stung."
The department said that a deputy told Woods that he and several of his fellow deputies were allergic to bees.
The department claims she replied, "Oh, you’re allergic? Good."
She has since been charged with four counts of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.
"We are always prepared for protests when it comes to evictions, but a majority of the groups who protest understand that we are just doing our statutory duty in accordance with state law,” Cocchi said. "But this woman, who traveled here, put lives in danger as several of the staff on the scene are allergic to bees. We had one staff member go to the hospital and luckily, he was alright or she would be facing manslaughter charges. I support people’s right to protest peacefully but when you cross the line and put my staff and the public in danger, I promise you will be arrested.”
Thousands of honeybees were killed as a result of the incident, officials said. "People in the neighborhood who are allergic to bees were put at risk for no good reason," the sheriff's department said.
Woods remains in custody and has not yet entered a plea, officials told Inside Edition Digital. Her attorney has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Woods was reportedly one of several protesters who had gathered outside the $1.5 million, 22-room house to prevent the eviction of a homeowner, Yahoo! News reported.
Evictions are decided by the courts, not the sheriff's department.
"When the Sheriff’s Office gets a first notice relative to an eviction (called a Notice to Quit), well ahead of any actual removal, we reach out to the person and ask how we can help. Our staff offers assistance with everything that can lead someone to an eviction," the department wrote. "We've offered those services to the former homeowner, and the offer for help remains, even after the attack. And following an eviction, we never leave anyone to be homeless or sleep in a car. Through our All-Inclusive Support Services center in Springfield, we use our relationships with local property owners, housing authorities and landlords to get people into safe and stable housing, and we ensure they have the employment opportunities to be able to pay rent to maintain it."
“Never in all my years of leading the Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Process Division have I seen something like this,” said Robert Hoffman, Chief Deputy of the Civil Process Office. “We truly try to help everyone we are court-ordered to evict and the New York Times even documented the Sheriff’s humane eviction process during the pandemic. I’m just thankful no one died because bee allergies are serious. I hope that these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future because they will be charged and prosecuted.”
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