Eleven bounty hunters searching for a fugitive mistakenly raided the home of Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner thanks to a lead they got from a tip on Facebook.
Brent Farley, owner of NorthStar Fugitive Recovery in Mesa, and members of his team, as well as those from Colorado-based Delta One Tactical Recovery, surrounded the chief’s home on Tuesday night, NBC News reports. Part of the incident was captured on cell-phone video.
They were filming this like it was made for TV,” said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, according to the Arizona Republic.
Yahner’s girlfriend ended up calling police after the bounty hunters woke them up, shining lights into the home and banging on the front door.
A sleepy Yahner answered the door, clad only in his underwear. The bondsmen initially challenged him, but their mistake was quickly revealed. Yahner is a slim white man, and the suspect they were looking for is 310 lbs. and black.
“He was sleeping, so he was concerned at first,” Crump told NBC News. “But a 30-year law enforcement veteran in the sixth-largest city in America can handle himself.”
Farley, 43, was arrested and faces one count each of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing for the incident.
Now, police are investigating the tip that led to the raid to see whether the bounty hunters were victims of a prank. Crump said Thursday that the investigation could take weeks, the Associated Press reports.
Still, he said the whole thing could have been avoided if the bondsmen had done their due diligence.
“This particular instance was them failing to confirm or vet the information that could have been found by Googling the address,” Crump said.
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