Police Raid Wrong House, Steal 18-Year-Old Girl's Computer Thanks to Unsecured WiFi Connection
When Evansville, Indiana, police officers started receiving threats against their families, they acted fast. The police traced the threats to the IP address of the Milan family on East Powell Avenue. And on June 21, they sent in a SWAT team to put on an impressive show of force.
Evansville police arrived at the the home of 18-year-old Stephanie Milan and her grandmother, smashing an already-open door and tossing a couple of flashbang grenades in the building. The police said say they knocked, but that knocking in these instances is intended to "distract."
Lucky for us—and for the Milan family—the cops also thoughtfully invited a local news crew, which recorded the results for the world to see.
In the video, the knocking is not apparent. After smashing the window and busting open the door, they throw in two flashbang grenades, and then barge into the building to do their thing. The stated reason for the raid was that the police officers were concerned for the safety of their families. Yet they seem to show little concern about the prospect of bringing loaded guns into a family home. They also took Stephanie's computer and cellphone for analysis.
After the raid, police determined that the WiFi connection was unsecured, meaning that anyone could have borrowed the connection to post the threats. Well, mistakes happen.
Repairs to the house were made at city expense. But were there any lessons learned?
In pursuing another lead on the same case this Monday, law enforcement visited another house. This time, they knocked. The Evansville Police Department is making no attempt to apologize for their raid on the Milan home, however.
As Ars Technica noted in its coverage of the event, incidents of this nature are common, and easily solved with the most trivial of precautions. Police: Check to see if a network is unsecured before you start smashing doors. Internet users: Secure your network, for crying out loud.
ReasonTV covered police raids here.