Getting Away From It All

This is Joe’s story. Joe moved to Calhoun County from Ohio to live on his old family farm, way back up a hollow all by himself. He decided he just wanted to get away from it all. But that’s not really the beginning of the story.

Well, that place had been sitting up there empty for several years while Joe was busy doing young man things in Ohio, and with the place being pretty far off the beaten path, an assortment of vandals, thieves, and meth cooks had made themselves right at home. The neighbors down the road, seeing that the owner had left the old place unattended and realising that things were getting pretty messed up, tried with all their might to keep people out of that hollow, but failed miserably in the attempt.

One day that particular neighbor came home from town and discovered the livestock had escaped from their pasture and the farm tractor was MISSING! So they began tracking those wayward animals and the missing tractor. The tracks led up the hollow to the old farm. Hiking up the hollow road it was discovered that the tractor was buried in the middle of the creek clear up to it’s axles, and the fence had been cut, allowing the animals to escape. There was an empty flatbed trailer sitting in the middle of the old road, and a place where it appeared that someone had very nearly lost a large vehicle down the steep bank leading to the creek. The animals were discovered grazing in the yard of the old house and, upon inspection, it became apparent that “someone” had indeed robbed the old house of nearly all of it’s antiques and valuables, with some items still laying in the yard and an old pump organ sitting on the front porch awaiting it’s removal. Obviously the thieves planned on returning. Red was seen, and with thoughts of “enough is enough!” and “I hate thieves!” the friendly local “public servants” were called to investigate.

The “investigation” was done. The police had plenty of information to track down and apprehend the criminals.
POLICE HAVE SUSPECTS IN JESSE’S RUN B & E – Two Dwellings Vandalized
The evidence was very plain. The fact is, one of the thieves, later that day, came back and ADMITTED to this neighbor just what he had been a part of. In gruesome detail, with names, places, times, and all. He couldn’t shut up, and even confessed to other unrelated things as well. This person had been apparently partaking too freely in his bad habits, had been awake far too long to be healthy, and was very willing to give up the goods on all concerned. He even paid a tow truck to come and haul the tractor out of the creek and coughed up a thousand dollars in damages so that these neighbors would not press charges against him for the theft of the tractor. Yet after all that, for some reason the police never managed to solve the case, nor did they ever contact the owner (Joe) about it….

It was discovered some time later thru the grapevine that the police also found what appeared to have been a meth lab in the old house. This “investigation” consisted of four carloads of police spending several hours looking around on that old farm… Now, it is assumed that whenever the police investigate a crime scene that there is much picture taking and paperwork. This is how they do things. You will understand later why this is important to the story.

Several months had gone by since the robbery when Joe finally decided to come back home to the family farm to live. He arrived to find a house full of holes in the walls, burns on the carpet, yellow stains on the linoleum, everything turned upside down, and the trash remains of years worth of abuse and neglect lying everywhere. But he moved in anyhow and proceeded to put things to rights. He removed the carpet and made a huge pile of all that trash behind his house. He had no money, therefore no trash service, so he just stacked it all up to be removed when he DID have way to do it.

Things were finally starting to look up for him when the trouble started. Joe decided to go to town one day, which was a bit unusual for him as he had no car and was pretty much living a hermit lifestyle. He caught a ride with one of the neighbors and was gone all day. While he was gone, several carloads of State Police arrived at his home. No one knows just what they were up to to that day, because despite his inquiring SEVERAL times, the police would NEVER TELL HIM exactly what it was that they wanted. One would think that if the police saw the need to come to a persons home IN FORCE like they did in this instance, that they would at least explain to the owner what it was they wanted! Certainly if he would have been at home at the time he would have found out! But all he knows is that they were there for about a half hour doing god-only-knows-what.

But that’s only the beginning. Only a couple weeks had gone by when an unfortunate set of circumstances occurred, having to do with the peculiar over-abundance of law enforcement in the neighborhood and an individual who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which again brought the State Police to Joe’s door. This time he WAS at home, but was escorted out (“rescued”) by the police, and once he was gone his entire house was searched from stem to stern, without a warrant and without his permission. His TV was knocked over, his drawers were all gone thru and dumped on the floor, even the heater vents in the floor were searched. He has no idea why. He also came home later to discover that someone had shot twice thru his front door FROM THE INSIDE with some type of small caliber gun, and also shot into his air conditioner several times, causing it to quit working. Strangely enough, the police were the ONLY ones there during that time, so where did those bullet holes come from?… None the less, as usual I am sure, the camera came out and there was another flurry of picture taking and paper shuffling.

Joe was questioned thoroughly by the police and at some point he brought up the subject of the robbery and the old meth lab. It was then that the police informed him that they had NO knowledge of an investigation of that nature having ever taken place…

Oh, yes, but there is more. Perhaps a month or so went by and then the State Police came to visit Joe AGAIN. This time he was informed that they had heard that he had a meth lab! The officer, an infamous Calhoun trooper with a questionable past record, asked for permission to search Joe’s house. Now, a police officer will not ask for permission to search unless he has no real “probable cause” to do so, and a warrant cannot be obtained without probable cause. Theoretically.
So, Joe could have said no and been perfectly within his rights, but of course the officer threatened to go get a warrant anyhow, in order to pressure him into allowing it. And so his home was searched one more time. Many pictures were taken of that same, now old and rusting pile of trash in the back yard. That makes at least 3 times that those old items were photographed for their “investigations”, and when questioned about this, the officer informed him that he HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF A PRIOR INVESTIGATION. Again.
My obvious question here would be, just what do they DO with all those endless photos and all that paperwork??? Do these officers know how to use a computer? Do they actually do any RESEARCH when they are investigating? I thought that was what investigating was…

This particular day, the search seemed a bit, shall we say, unprofessional. It is my understanding (tho I could be wrong as I find all the technicalities of law to be basically incomprehensible) that if the police wish to search without a warrant they must not only obtain verbal permission, but it must also be documented on paper as well. This was NOT done, at least not obviously.

Well, so at what point does this type of action by the State Police go beyond normal “investigating” and into the realms of harassment? In all their investigations, right from the beginning, Joe has been an innocent party and has not been charged with any wrong doing in these matters. So much for “getting away from it all”. It would seem that the police may have just been looking for excuses to be in the neighborhood for intimidation purposes (we ARE big brother and we’re WATCHING you), or maybe just looking for something to do so that it appears as if they are actually doing something useful. But definitely lacking in any real professionalism in the matter. Just another JOB WELL DONE at taxpayers expense, and more fed-up people who are sick and tired of their intimidation tactics.