After a botched FBI raid in Kansas nearly destroyed a family's home, the bureau vowed to pay for damages including a ruined Christmas tree and lost toys, The Joplin Globe reported Wednesday.
Law enforcement officers reportedly surrounded the home Monday night in Galena believing an armed gang member was holed up in the attic. He was wanted on charges including failing to appear in court on a misdemeanor assault charge. The FBI joined in Tuesday after a federal warrant accused the man of hopping state lines to avoid prosecution, the Globe reports.
A neighbor said Juanita Lane, who owns the home, told police again and again that the suspect wasn't inside. Lane lives with her six children, ages 3 to 15, according to that neighbor, Vonda Macklin.
Agents finally stormed the home Tuesday afternoon, the Globe reports. As Lane had warned, the suspect wasn’t there.
Still, it was a violent raid. Photos of the home showed broken windows, a hole ripped through the siding, and furniture and toys strewn out on the lawn.
“What was hardest was that they destroyed the Christmas tree. They ripped it out of the window," Macklin told the Globe.
The FBI offered to pay for the damage, but only after the homeowner files a claim, spokeswoman Bridget Patton told the Globe. She said officers removed the family’s belongings from the home to ensure law enforcement’s safety.
Supporters set up a GoFundMe page seeking $5,000 to help pay for the family’s Christmas.
Investigators eventually admitted their information on the gang member’s whereabouts was likely wrong. "Either that information was inaccurate or he left prior to law enforcement arrival,” Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves told the Globe.