It was a case of mistaken identity on a major scale.
Eleven bounty hunters made a huge error when they swarmed a Phoenix residence late one night this week looking for a fugitive from justice. They had raided the home of Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner.
The AZ Central reported:
Two fugitive-recovery companies working in tandem kept watch for two hours before swarming the darkened house at about 10 p.m. NorthStar Fugitive Recovery owner Brent Farley, 43, is facing charges of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The event, which a NorthStar employee said has been “all blown out of proportion,” was captured on a cellphone camera.
When police officers arrived, they found Farley’s employees and those of Delta One Tactical Recovery surrounding the home. One man banged on the door with an unholstered weapon and engaged in a verbal confrontation with the chief inside, police said. The bounty hunters’ vehicles were parked on the property, the headlights glaring as the man at the door shined his flashlight inside, Phoenix police said.
“They were filming this like it was made for TV,” Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman, told AZ Central.
Here’s the video the bounty hunters had shot:
AZ Central reported:
Several outside the chief’s home were armed, and police said Wednesday that they were serving a search warrant for the weapons. Riding alongside the armed bounty hunters was an 11-year-old and an adult relative of one of the employees, police said.
The tip that sent the bounty hunters to Yahner’s home, according to a NorthStar employee, was from an Oklahoma number. The fugitive at the heart of their search remains wanted out of Oklahoma on drug charges.
Crump described the events for AZ Central:
After his arrest, Farley told local ABC affiliate Channel 15 his side of the story.
He said he’d notified a police dispatcher of the exact address they were going to before they went to the chief’s house.
“I believe Phoenix police have responsibility to the chief to say that’s probably not an address where you are going to find a suspect at,” Farley told ABC-15.
But he also acknowledged bearing some responsibility for what had happened.
“I would have spent more time finding out who lives at that house,” he added.
Crump summed up the events for AZ Central:
“This isn’t indicative specifically of this profession,” the police spokesman said. “This is a case in which these two companies did not do their due diligence. … They hit the wrong house and the wrong person.”
As for Farley, he’s on the lookout for another line of work.
“I’m getting out of the business after this,” he told the TV station.
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