MOUNT LEBANON (KDKA) — A Mount Lebanon father was shaken up during a mix-up involving Allegheny County Sheriff’s deputies who showed up at his apartment with a search warrant looking for a suspect wanted on felony charges.
“I was just looking through the peep hole and that’s where they were gathering out in the hallway,” said Tom Hopeck, the resident.
Hopeck says he’s still shaken up after the Monday night incident in his Mount Lebanon apartment.
Hopeck was home with his 6-month-old daughter after getting off of work when several plainclothes sheriff’s deputies came to his door with a warrant.
They were looking for a man he did not know.
“They said that I either open the door or they’re going to kick it in,” said Hopeck. “They said that about two or three times.”
“The deputies were a little afraid that the individual inside was armed,” said Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen. “They asked for a final time to open the door or they were going to kick the door in, and they kicked the door in.”
As it turns out, the man sheriff’s deputies were looking for had lived in the apartment before. He even had some mail there, but he had recently moved out and the Hopecks had moved in.
“Most of all, it was how I was being treated like a criminal on the ground,” said Hopeck of the ordeal.
Sheriff Mullen says his men properly identified themselves multiple times as law enforcement officers before breaking in the door, and they were searching for a known felony that has a criminal record in two states.
“So, they’ve got to take precautions,” said Sheriff Mullen. “You certainly have to question why the individual did not open the door, and there’s two sides to every story, and it’s just very fortunately that no more force than was necessary was used.”