A Colorado homeowner says a local SWAT team got a little overzealous in trying to track down a suspected shoplifter who had tried to hide in the house: they blew it to pieces. And now they are refusing to pay for the damage.
As KMGH in Denver reports, at around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, shoplifting suspect Robert Seacat, who had been fleeing the police, forced his way into the Greenwood Village home. Police say he chose the home at random and had no connection to the house or to the family who lived inside. Seacat, who was armed, barricaded himself inside the home. The family’s nine-year-old son, who was inside the house when Seacat went in, was able to get outside the house unharmed.
Nineteen-hours later, the Colorado SWAT team ended the standoff, throwing chemical agents and flash-bang grenades into the house, and battering down at least one wall with a “breaching ram.”
The raid left the home in pieces, according to Denver’s KDVR. Giant holes have been blown into the exterior walls along the front and back of the house, on the first and second floors. Shrapnel is stuck in the walls. Broken glass and other debris litter the lawn. Even a neighbor’s house suffered damage.
Leo Lech, the landlord who owns the house, is appalled.
“It looks like Osama Bin Laden’s compound. This is a complete atrocity. This is a paramilitary force used in a civilian environment … for one gunman? To use this kind of power? They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person. Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door.”
Lech also says that the family that rented the house from him — his son, fiance, and her son — have lost everything.
“They are completely distraught. They lost everything too … things in there that can never be replaced.”
To make matters worse, Lech says that Greenwood Village is refusing to pay for the damage the SWAT team did to his rental property. He claims the police department has told him the damage is not their responsibility, and is not returning his calls.
However, a KDVR reporter was able to speak to city manager’s assistant, Matt Corhs, who claims that the city is trying to come up with a resolution.
“I know there have been attempts to contact [Lech]. We have contacted our insurance company to see if they will positively resolve this matter.”
In the meantime, Lech says the home may have to be leveled.
“It survived two World Wars, OK, but it didn’t survive the American police paramilitary operation.”
Do you believe the Greenwood Village SWAT team is responsible for the damage done to this man’s rental property? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: KDVR]