Resident: Deputies search wrong home

Man says officers stormed his house, handcuffed him and forced him to the floor
Courtney Astolfi
Mar 31, 2014
A Benedict Avenue resident contends Huron County deputies forced their way into his home Tuesday without a search warrant.

John Collins, who lives in one unit of a triplex home at 114 Benedict Ave., contends deputies got the wrong address when they executed the search warrant. The warrant was for the unit next to his, he said.

The deputies handcuffed him and left him lying on the floor in his unit for 20 minutes after they realized the mistake, Collins said.  

Collins, 26, said he was watching TV when he heard someone yell, “Huron County Sheriff” outside his door.

“As soon as I stood up, they bum-rushed the door and threw me on the ground at gunpoint,” Collins said.

Read managing editor Matt Westerhold's Sunday column about the Huron County Sheriff' raid, Gag on it

They tore through his home, he said, after cuffing him and forcing him to the floor facedown.

“They searched my whole house, pulled stuff out my closet, broke a couple knick knacks” he said.

One deputy also stepped on his tablet, shattering its screen. Another broke a ceramic decoration that once belonged to his now-deceased son, Collins said.

Collins said he repeatedly told the deputies they had the wrong house.

“But they kept saying, ‘This is a drug house,’ and ‘You shouldn’t be in a drug house then’” Collins said.

Two deputies must have realized the mistake, Collins said, because they recognized him from their school days and had to have known he was not the man identified in the search warrant. The deputies went next door, he said. They made contact with the residents there — who were later arrested for drug trafficking.

But six or so other deputies continued searching Collins’ home.

“It was inhumane. I’m to the point where I’m scared and don’t want to be there by myself” Collins said.

After they’d been in his home for awhile, one deputy returned and told him he was under arrest and began reading him his rights, Collins said.

But just a short while later, they uncuffed him and apologized.

“Then they just left like it was nothing” Collins said.

Huron County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy Cardwell issued a secret gag order March 21 to seal the search warrant. The gag order is also secret, Cardwell’s court clerk said after the Register asked for a copy of the order.

And the criminal complaint that was filed with the Huron County Sheriff’s Office also is secret.

The Register learned the search warrant was gagged after Huron County Sheriff’s Capt. Ted Patrick failed to deliver on assurances he made Thursday, when he said he would follow up on the Register’s requests for the initial complaints that led to the search warrant.

Incident reports and search warrants are generally public record that cannot be withheld from release.

“You send me a records request via email and I’ll be happy to get what you need,” Patrick said Thursday.

Patrick did not respond to the email the Register then sent and, when a reporter went to the sheriff’s office Friday, the incident reports weren’t available.

Patrick, who for the past three years has routinely failed to follow the public records requirements of the Ohio Revised Code, was also unavailable.

Earlier this month, Sheriff Dane Howard agreed to have his command staff begin complying with state law. When the Register emailed requests for incident reports on four other occasions in the past few weeks, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office provided those reports the following day — the first ever such consistent occurrences in the past three years.

It’s unclear why Judge Cardwell issued the gag order on this search warrant, or why he extended that gag order to include the gag order itself.

It’s also unclear why Patrick cannot provide the incident reports. On Thursday, Patrick said what Collins contends is not accurate.

The search warrant deputies executed at his home was for the correct address, he said; the arrests next door simply occurred as a coincidence.

“We finished a search warrant at 114 1/2 Benedict Ave. Our next move then was to check on an individual who may have a warrant in close proximity,” Patrick said. “When we executed the warrant we became aware of warrants for an individual in close proximity, which was next door”

Collins was not arrested after the search warrant was executed inside his home. The residents of the neighboring unit were.

Thomas Papp, 34, and his mother, Patricia Papp, were both arrested on drug trafficking warrants, according to Huron County jail guards.



You are deflecting from the issue. The man was not who they were looking for nor named on the warrant. They were advised they were going to the wrong home and they ignored the warning.


@gottalovenorwalk Because this guy has a record it makes it ok for the sheriff's office to do what they did and lie about it? Not in my book! I'm sure that if this happened to you that you would also feel that the behavior shown was not acceptable. Also betting your record isn't spotless!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


@gotalovenorwalk, what this has to do with is not Mr Collins criminal record , but about the law enforcement officers failing to comply to the law of the land and the disregarding of the Fourth Amendment on Search and Seizure...and as you appear not to know what it is, I will will tell you " The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized". Mr Collins name apparently was not the name on the warrant, and law enforcement has no excuse for not knowing the person to whom they were seeking with a warrant did not live there any longer. And if you condone letting the constitution be set aside just because someone has a criminal past, then don't whine when they do it to you. I leave you with this thought."They came for the Communists, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't

a Communist;

They came for the Socialists, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't a Socialist;

They came for the labor leaders, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't a labor leader;

They came for the Jews, and I didn't

object - For I wasn't a Jew;

Then they came for me -

And there was no one left to object.

Martin Niemoller, German Protestant Pastor,


Really are you ...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Really are you ...

I guess I said something that might have hurt somebody's feelings. So I will finish up what else I had to say. Change the words a bit. If we don't stand up for our jobs that belong to Americans regardless wether we like them or not, we lose jobs for ourselves.

Really are you ...

And we are so close to living in a police state. Martial law is around the corner. Pick your poison to start it off: economic collapse or another revolution or insurrection. Over a thousand FEMA Camps uninhabited in the US waiting for occupants (Consentration camps Nazi Germany). Want to relocate? Come get on this train (Nazi Germany). Being detained for taking pitchers of what is inside the fence (Toledo tank factory, journalists were detained by Military Police. During WWII for you were caught looking in a concentration camp, you were forced to spend the night there. Nazi Germany).

The Big Dog's back

Substitute Corporations for "they".


Corporations are not pure evil, though believe it or not, you've said a number of things about them with which I agree. The primary difference in this particular scenario, though, has nothing to do with good and evil, and everything to do with a very specific type of power.

Corporations cannot break into the wrong house and unlawfully detain you. Corporations cannot force you at gunpoint to buy their -- or anybody else's -- product. Corporations cannot force you to relocate, whether due to a real or claimed emergency or a land seizure of one kind or another. Corporations cannot whisk you away to a jail cell or a "concentration camp." Governments can. They have, they do, and they will again. It's become less a matter of where that kind of thing happens (within what country's borders, I mean) and more a matter of how OFTEN it happens.

Peninsula Pundit

I do not disagree,Sam.
However, due to the corrupting influence of money from corps at most levels of govt, corporations have undue influence on what laws are passed, what property is seized through 'eminent domain',etc.
The corps do not have the direct power, but are easily able to corrupt govts to do their will.
Sometimes, not even the elected officials are fully cognizant of what is going on.


This is just the side of Mr. Collins, read the Norwalk Reflector, and get the side of the law enforcement. There is always two sides to every story, and this one is not believable.

Peninsula Pundit

So you are saying the police didn't enter the wrong house?
They in fact did.
Thus, the rest of what you say is BS.


So you "in fact" have read the report and got this information first hand? Maybe you should write for the register since you seem to know the actual facts that supposedly haven't been given out yet, you'd fit in well with the rest of the journalists.

Peninsula Pundit

With this rich variety of corruption in Law Enforcement and a Healthy respect for the American people's right to know, I would gladly accept a position with the Register!
To the point you make above: Why doesn't the police 'give out the facts', this many days past the event?
Is it your premise that the public doesn't have a right to know?
That once you serve the time, you're forever suspect?
How about if you have nothing to fear, you should have nothing to hide?
What country are you from?


Ignorance. Your response has nothing in it that defends your initial response. Since you stated that "they in fact did" enter the wrong house, I asked if you had gotten this information first hand or if you had read the report?
I do agree that the facts and the official report should have been produced by now, and I am a firm believer that the public has a right to know. I also feel strongly that the police have a responsibility to report truthful facts in a timely manner, however I don't think that they should provide information prematurely on topics that aren't essential to being released.


Don't get me wrong, I understand that there is a huge problem with corruption and cops protecting each other. I also understand that cops are held to a higher standard and much more harshly criticized when they make a mistake (as they probably should be since they are held to that higher standard). I do not have a problem whatsoever with them not making a premature statement, that may or may not be factual, that could be used by biased journalists to make these officers look bad.
Again, should the report have been released by this point? Probably. Do I think that even cops make mistakes, and that they should be held accountable and to a higher standard than EVERYBODY else that makes mistakes? Yes. Do I think that the Sandusky Register is filled with biased reporters that continuously omit information and jump the gun? Most definitely.

Peninsula Pundit

Taking your comment at face value, I ask you to consider this:
If the incident had been solely reported in the manner the local paper has reported it, do you think the local citizenry would have reacted in the manner that they have here on these boards?
The idea of a 'Free Press' is not to have to consider the 'side' of the elected officials. The press should be a watchdog, like the watchdog that barks aggressively even before the intruder gets into the house.
Maybe the dog is barking just because someone is walking by. If the owner looks out and sees that, he goes on his way.
However, if an intruder is on the porch, you get your gun and pat the good dog on the head.
A vast majority of the citizenry reviewing this story, as evidenced by these comments, have checked their powder and are patting the dog on the head.
The only ones who don't are the crooks.
I really can't make it any clearer than that.

Really are you ...

They entered the right house. A triplex is three apartment units under one roof. "They said you shouldn't be in a drug house then." If a landlord has three dwellings for people to live in, the landlord can't call it a triplex if those separate dwellings aren't under one roof.

Peninsula Pundit

By that, I use the term loosely, 'reasoning', if there is a warrant for someone in a 50 apartment complex (all under 1 roof) then the police are perfectly 'within their rights' to go from door-to-door through the whole building.
Quit posting so late at night, you either need sleep or to sober up.


Three sides to every story


Register has a funny tendency for this type of thing....


GottaloveNorwalk, if everything was on the up and up, and the sheriff's department has nothing to hide, then why the double secret gag order? You don't need a coverup if you've done nothing wrong.

Peninsula Pundit

They cannot answer that question without sounding foolish.
That is why.


If this were to have happened in Indiana the cop could have been shot for this as they not allowed to enter a dwelling without proper assertion and the home owner could have had rights to defend his property. Take heed ladies and gents ,this behavior from the law is only gonna get worse as courts are allowing search and seizure based on hearsay and the willingness to fill the coffers with drug related proceeds.

Little Giant

There are 196 units in the Chesapeake all under one roof. If they kicked down the doors of all the units, they would find drugs in about half of them!


War on drugs needs to end. Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over to yield a single predictable outcome, then expecting a different result the next time.
Oh the litigation will be sweet on this one!


Forget about whether the desired result is achieved; even if it were to be effective, that doesn't make it legitimate.

Ask yourself, why, if a Constitutional Amendment was necessary to ban the consumption of one mind altering substance (alcohol) then how can they simply legislate a ban on the consumption of other mind altering substances?

The Constitution is being used for toilet paper by our elected representatives; the least of our worries is that they're only INEFFECTIVE despots.


Good thing he didn't have a dog, they would have shot it.

Ralph J.

Innocent people die from these police raids. How many more innocent people need to die?

Ralph J.

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