Woman claims EPD officer broke into a vacant home she owns - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Woman claims EPD officer broke into a vacant home she owns

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An Evansville woman says she wants charges brought against a police officer she claims broke into a vacant home she owns and is renovating.

The department says the officer did nothing wrong, and was simply answering a call.

The homeowner, who we'll call Samantha, tells 14 News she had no idea an officer had been letting himself into the home multiple times, until they met in the basement, face to face.

Tuesday night, the department says he was doing his job, but the homeowner says he broke the law.

"He opened up the screen door, the storm door, and removed a plexi-glass window. Put his hands in, unbolted the door," Samantha told 14 News. 

Homeowner Samantha, whose identity we've concealed, says that's how an Evansville Police officer got inside her vacant home she's renovating, while she and a relative were working in the basement.

"He let himself into my house," she said. "I feel very strongly that they should not have the right to just walk into your home. I don't think that constitutionally they do."

"There's no evidence that supports that he broke into that home," said EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum. 

Sgt. Cullum says a week before, officers had been called to the vacant home for a report of a homeless person living inside.

He says at that time, the department found a mattress and other personal items, evidence that someone was living inside.

Samantha says those were her belongings she had been moving into her new home.

Cullum says the officer had the right to enter the home and during the incident at question, the door was unlocked and the officer found Samantha in the basement.

"Everything that the property owner alleged he did, he did, but he's allowed to do it," Cullum said. "We get a little leeway to do some things that a normal citizen can't do."

An internal EPD investigation cleared the officer of any wrong-doing.

In a letter to Samantha, Police Chief Billy Bolin writes "I honestly don't understand your concern" and commends the officer for doing his job.

"An officer performing his duties is not breaking the law by going onto a property. He's actually fulfilling his oath to make everybody safe," Cullum said. 

"Since he broke, I feel like he broke the law, or what they see as the department guidelines then there should be a consequence," says Samantha. 

Samantha says her building permits with her name on them were visibly posted in her front window.

Cullum says the Prosecutor's Office has declined to file any charges.

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