Deanne Stein, News9.com
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- A group of bounty hunters posing as law enforcement officers ransack the home of a Midwest City father and his two teenage children.
According to Midwest City police, the 50-year-old victim and his kids were surprised by the group of men Tuesday night when they banged on his apartment door around 11:30 p.m.
The victim said when he opened the door, six men wearing "SWAT" type clothing rushed into his apartment, damaging his front door. He said once inside, they physically assaulted him while looking for his driver's license.
The victim said the men had vests labeled with the word "FUGITIVE" on the back. He said they also had badges, radios, handguns and tasers. The victim did as he was told because he assumed they were police. But they weren't. Police say they believe the men were instead, bounty hunters.
"Bounty hunters do assist law enforcement and we certainly are not stereotyping the legitimate people who do a good job bringing fugitives back to justice," said Chief Brandon Clabes with the Midwest City Police Department. "However, this group is running roughshod over anyone they come into contact with and are presenting themselves as law enforcement by the way they dress and act."
During about a 45 minute period, the men detained the victim and his two teenage children. They also searched his apartment but never answered questions as to why they were there. After realizing the victim was not the person they were looking for, the six white men left.
"This is an example of one bad apple making everyone else look horrible," Chief Clabes said. "We are taking this case very seriously because these individuals, who we have not identified yet, are violating basic civil rights and criminal law."
Investigators are currently working to identify these bounty hunters and have received several leads as to their identity. The suspects could face a number of including first degree burglary, kidnapping, impersonating a police officer, assault and malicious mischief.
According to state statute, bounty hunters have no special "protections" or authority and should abide by the same rules as a normal citizen.