Linn County sheriff investigating damage to gates at lakeside HOA community

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 8:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINN COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - A dispute over HOA policies escalated to a group of people cutting out gates at a private lakeside village, according to residents.

Members of the Tanglewood Lakes community posted videos of the incident on the village’s website. The clips show dozens of people sawing off three gates at entrances to the community. Some people tried chaining them to a pickup truck to rip them off.

Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend said the group of people had organized beforehand. He said there had been a dispute over HOA policies building over the past few years, especially in the last few months.

The sheriff said they have since arrested Eva Riojas, who residents called the organizer of the group. The sheriff said his office has also referred 26 felony charges and 13 misdemeanors to the county prosecutor.

“You have consequences for those actions,” Sheriff Friend said. “There are folks who are suffering those consequences now. Even though they consider this a nonviolent protest, this is very damaging. The lake organization has lost a lot of dollars in this situation. The consequences for the actions are what people need to be thinking about.”

Residents at Tanglewood Lakes told KCTV5 that the tension in the community had stemmed from enforcement of HOA policies. They said the community had increasingly tightened down on gate access, revoking several entry privileges.

At a county commission meeting following the incident, frustrated homeowners outlined a history of similar incidents on a smaller scale. People had been breaking chains or damaging property to enter the village in order to access the lake or camping facilities.

One HOA leader called the group of people in the latest incident a “mob,” estimating that they did more than $100,000 in damages.

“They destroyed our gates by cutting them with power tools,” he said. “They removed our card readers on our mounting poles. They disconnected the power.”

Jim Hendershot, who owns a home on the lake, said he and other homeowners were frustrated over the dispute and the point to which it escalated.

“Regardless of your point of view, destruction of property is not the answer,” he said. “We want to see that division closed and everyone get back to enjoying the lake.”