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Update: Warrant, report don’t add up

Courtney Astolfi • Nov 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

John Collins, 26, of 114 1/2 Benedict Ave., contends Huron County deputies were in fact searching the wrong residence March 25 when they detained him and ransacked his home.

Huron County Chief Deputy Ted Patrick later said Collins’ complaint is simply unfounded.

Huron County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy Cardwell sealed the search warrant days before it was executed, but on Friday prosecutors unsealed that warrant.

The document, however, is fraught with inconsistencies. It was released from the gag order on Monday. 

Read the search warrant

According to the warrant, authored by Huron County detective Richard Larson, deputies had permission to enter “the residence of Robert Lee Hendricks, 114 ½ Benedict Ave” to search for drugs, paraphernalia and more specifically, oxycodone.

But Hendricks does not live at that address, Collins said. The home is a triplex — Hendricks’ mother lives in the unit next door to Collins.

Deputies learned of alleged drug activity at the residence on March 18, after an anonymous caller reported a man and woman heading to “114 Benedict Ave.” — Hendricks’ mother’s address — to purchase Percocet and heroin from Hendricks, according to the warrant.

Deputies scoped out the residence and “observed Robert Hendricks exit the residence of 114 ½ Benedict Ave.,” the warrant stated. That one line is the only instance in which deputies link Hendricks to Collins’ address.

Collins said Hendricks has been in his home just one time, weeks ago, to ask for the password to his WiFi connection so he could use the Internet.

Deputies watched as an SUV pulled into a shared driveway behind the triplex, then pulled out a minute or two later. When they stopped the vehicle on Northwest Street, the occupants admitted buying Percocet from Hendricks, and they later identified him in a photo lineup, the warrant stated.

Every reference the anonymous caller made about Hendricks’ address was 114 Benedict Ave., according to the warrant.

A Huron County sheriff's report released Tuesday provides little information about what occurred when the warrant was served. It contains fewer than 115 words and provides no description of what occurred, nor does it address the allegations made by COllins that deputies searched the wrong home and detained the wrong man. 

Read the brief report

When deputies executed the warrant March 25, Collins was alone in his apartment. They ordered him to the ground at gunpoint and handcuffed him, leaving him cuffed for about 20 minutes as they searched the home, Collins said.

Collins said deputies never gave him a copy of the search warrant, which Ohio law would require. The warrant itself states: “A copy of this warrant and receipt of property taken will be left at the place of execution or given to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken”

Deputies seized two marijuana pipes, and they issued Collins a property seizure receipt, then left without charging him.

Deputies then walked next door to 114 Benedict Ave., where they arrested Hendrick’s mother, Patricia Papp and her other son, Thomas Papp, on drug trafficking warrants issued earlier this year, Patrick said.

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard has yet to respond to public records requests the Register sent to him and his employees on March 27 and April 1, seeking material and multiple documents connected to the case.

Last week, Howard said he was working on the request and hoped to fulfill it soon. He did not return a call Monday afternoon seeking an update. It's not clear whether the report that was provided Tuesday — which provided no information of any substantive nature — represents his response to the request, which was detailed and specific. 

Note: This article has been modified to correct information about the warrants for Patricia Papp and Thomas Papp. Those warrants were filed earlier this year. 

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