- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2014

A SWAT team on a mission to root out illegal drugs, cash and guns took over a Kalamazoo, Mich., home with speed and fury.

Unfortunately for the residing family, the true target had moved out of the house more than a year ago.

Homeowner Jeremy Handley, his wife, and their 7-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter were swept up in the mistake when authorities burst through their back door.

“I thought it was somebody either trying to rob us or hurt us,” Mr. Handley told a local news station.

Despite the Handleys’ attempt to explain their innocence, SWAT agents cuffed and searched him and his wife while their two children hid in a closet.

“He had me sprawl out right here on the floor,” Mr. Handley told the station. “And then he had me put my hands behind my back.”

Their son, Branden, said he and his sister Aurora “stayed quiet because we thought they were bad guys coming in.”

Aurora added: “It made me sad and scared.”

But the SWAT team didn’t let up, even after parents tried to explain their error.

They ransacked the home — “every drawer, every cabinet, every piece of paper,” Mr. Handley said.

After three hours of searching, nothing illegal was found. Turns out, agents were actually looking for “a man named Chum” whom the Handleys say moved out more than a year before they began renting the house.

Mrs. Handley said “they apologized,” and gave the two children some stuffed animals.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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