The Joy of Serving Search Warrants
Searching someone’s home for evidence of a crime is no picnic. Not even close. Well, there is a chance you’ll encounter a host of warm and fuzzy creatures of various types, similar to those you’d expect to see in the great outdoors or in cages marked KEEP AWAY: DANGER TO HUMANS!!!
And, you might find yourself wishing you were outside enjoying fresh air instead of the thick funk that sometimes lingers in and around the interior of the places some people call home sweet home.
For example, during the executions of search warrants and looking for bad guys who might’ve been hiding out beneath someone’s bed, I’ve discovered:
- While searching a bedroom dresser drawer for stolen jewelry I found a pair of dirty underwear wedged in a back corner. When I say dirty, I mean the wearer had not made it to the bathroom in time to … well, you know. So they simply removed the soiled panties along with their contents and shoved them in with the clean clothes where they’d remained until I discovered them.
- I opened a closet door and thought I heard the sound of raindrops hitting a tin roof. I pointed my flashlight up toward the ceiling and saw thousands of roaches dropping from the ceiling to the shelves and floor below. By that time my clothing was covered with them. I could not get out of there fast enough.
- Let’s just say it’s never a good idea to lift the cover from any five-gallon bucket found inside a house with no running water. It’s the “bathroom.”
- Yes, those dozens upon dozens of marks in the grease on top of the stove and inside the frying pan were indeed the footprints of mice/rats. And those thousands of tiny black things scattered about were not pieces of pepper.
- Mice and roaches crawling across the flesh of babies lying on the floor, in cribs, on mattresses, etc.
- A dead woman perched in a recliner. She’d been dead for several days and the family simply left her sitting there. And, they’d been watching TV and eating meals with the dearly departed grandma not more than ten feet away.
- A small dog who wanted to play and would not take no for an answer. So between searching closets and dresser drawers I was forced to play fetch with mini-Rover. It was either that or listen to nonstop barking and a constant tugging on the cuff of my pant leg. If I ignored the little pooch for too long it grabbed a shoestring and backed away until my laces became untied.
- A small kid who called me daddy, over and over again. I promise, I’d never met his mom nor had I ever been to the house before. But the lad was equally as insistent as the little dog who wanted to play fetch. He did not untie my shoes, though.
- A toilet tank is a favorite hiding spot for evidence, so they were one of the first places I looked. One house, though, almost broke me of that habit because the bowl was so “full” the residents of that charming abode had resorted to using the floor to do their business. I’ve walked through cow pastures that were less booby-trapped.
- Speaking of restrooms, there was one where the homeowner kept a mini-fridge on the floor beside the toilet. It was stocked with soft drinks, beer, and assorted snacks. A stack of magazines and books occupied the space on top. The man told me he spent a lot of time in there.
- A 21-foot python curled up in the bathtub of a mobile home. I almost wet my pants when I pulled back the shower curtain.
- A really nice and well-cared-for pot plant decorated as a Christmas tree. It was beautiful. Even had a train running in circles around the base. Presents for the kids, too.
- The home had no heat so the residents burned open fires in the living room inside a metal washtub. No chimney. No fireplace. Just the tub and stack of firewood.
- A bunch of young kids, all under the age of 9, who’d learned to cook and care for themselves because their parents left them alone approximately six weeks prior to a neighbor calling us to check on the children.
- The house with the carcasses of dozens of dead animals throughout the place—dogs, cats, iguanas, rats, a couple of snakes (not sure if they’d been pets or were there to feed on the weakened animals), and what appeared to be a raccoon or opossum. The mummified and/or skeletal remains were just there, willy-nilly. On the floor, atop a twin bed, in a chair, etc. Bizarre. Really bizarre. And the person who lived there simply stepped around them when leading us through the house.
- An entire room packed from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with unopened packages of toilet tissue and paper towels.
- A full-size Harley motorcycle in an upstairs bedroom.
- A naked man hiding in a closet. He didn’t live there and the woman who did claimed to not know him. Her husband seemed as surprised as I was to see the guy step from behind the dresses and pants suits.
- A human hand in the freezer.
- Pot plants growing all around the house, pruned like shrubbery.
- A room set up like a doctor’s office. The woman who lived there performed minor procedures such as Botox injections, removal of varicose veins, etc. By trade she worked in a doctor’s office as a medical assistant. She stole supplies from her workplace and used her “vast” knowledge of medicine to cure the sick from the comfort of her own home. She also performed minor surgery on animals.
- A root doctor who assembled a variety of concoctions to ward off the evils of life. We found the 4′-11″ woman boiling chicken feet and small human bones together in a large stew pot. The human ingredients were stolen from local cemetery and a funeral home.
- Two men having sex in a bedroom (didn’t want to stop even after we’d opened the door) while the wife and children of one of the men watched TV in the family room. The family dog gave us the “please get me out of here” look the moment we first stepped inside.
- A very old and very naked woman seated in a wingback chair while eating ice cream and watching Jerry Springer. The rest of the family carried on like naked grandma was an everyday thing. I suppose it was.
Once, I served a search warrant for drugs and actually found drugs and nothing more. Just gobs of drugs. No odd people. No soiled panties. No one was naked. And no roaches. It was weird. Really weird.