A Massachusetts woman with a bee in her bonnet is accused of initiating a sting operation to prevent service of eviction paperwork at a man’s home.
Rorie S. Woods is facing multiple assault charges after gleefully unleashing a swarm of bees on police attempting to serve a notice of eviction at a $1.5 million home belonging to Alton King Jr.
Rather than the standard service, where police address issues such as temporary shelter and mental health assistance, officers were met with protestors blocking the residence and an imminent attack with a deadly weapon.
“During this time, the officers secured the premises and waited for Mr. King to return, as we were told that he was at court trying to delay the eviction,” according to a report authored by Hampden County Deputy Sheriff Daniel H. Soto.
While awaiting King, a woman reportedly arrived in an SUV pulling a trailer.
“At that time a female later identified as Rorie Susan Woods exited her vehicle and went to the back of the trailer and started shaking bee hives to let the bees out,” Soto’s report stated. “Deputy Michael Joslyn attempted to stop Woods who successfully freed one of the hives by breaking the cover…causing hundreds of bees to swarm around. Deputy Joslyn was stung in the face and had to retreat.”
While police were adjusting to the new threat, Woods allegedly donned a beekeeper suit and began inciting more bees, rolling three large hives off the trailer and placing them at the entryway of the home.
“Officers at this time attempted to stop Woods but were attacked by the bees,” Soto continued.
Chaos ensued as deputies filed into the 10,000-square-foot home to avoid the onslaught. Several deputies were stung trying to wrangle Woods, who allegedly resisted arrest before being cuffed and taken to a police cruiser.
“While Woods was being escorted to the cruiser, (another deputy) advised Woods that he and several officers were allergic to bees,” the report said, to which Woods allegedly replied, “Oh, you’re allergic? Good.”
The veteran bee beekeeper was arraigned in Springfield District Court on October 12 on multiple felony charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to which she pled not guilty. There is no indication that Woods knows King but she reportedly travels around Massachusetts to participate in eviction protests.
Eviction proceedings at the address have been ‘stop-and-go’ for years, following service of 72-hour notice in 2018 when records show King owed $1.2 million on the home, according to Hampden County Sheriff spokesman Nicholas Cocchi. Procedures were paused by eviction moratoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic but have recently resumed.
“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. “And they appreciate how we go above and beyond to help the people being evicted with anything they need from food and temporary shelter, to long-term housing, employment, and mental health and substance use disorder treatment.”
But Woods’s tactics were dangerous, he said.
“This woman, who traveled here, put lives in danger as several of the staff on scene are allergic to bees,” Cocchi said. “We had one staff member go the hospital, and, luckily, he was all right or she could 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.”
Woods reportedly fought a protracted eviction battle of her own in 2018 assisted by the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending which asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of Woods and 20 others facing eviction to “uphold their rights to appeal and to block their evictions or allow the petitioners to move back into their homes,” according to MassLive.com.
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