A single mom's house in Galena, Kansas, was badly damaged after law enforcement reportedly used an armored military vehicle to poke holes in the walls in an effort to catch a suspect who was not in the home (video below).
"It appeared using that tool that there was somebody in the attic, as it turns out now we know that was incorrect," Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves told Fox 14. "But nonetheless that was the information we were operating under at the time."
However, that wasn't all the information that police were "operating under at the time." The homeowner, Nita Lane, told the cops that there was no one hiding up in the attic, according to her neighbor Vonda Maklin.
Back on Dec. 15, Groves told The Joplin Globe that local sheriff's deputies and police, state law enforcement and the FBI served a search warrant on the home on the night of Dec. 14 and learned that the suspect, Doug Alexius, was holed up in the attic.
"Time is on our side," Groves told the newspaper. "We have the luxury of being able to rotate officers out. At some point, he's going to have to come out of there."
Groves told Fox 14 that law enforcement used an infra-red camera that detected heat coming from the attic.
"Some may suggest you just rush in and we could have cleared that house in a matter of minutes, and that's true," Groves added. "But if there was a suspect in there and he would have shot one of our officers or something else happened and he was able to breach the perimeter and jeopardize the safety of the residents nearby, that's not a risk I'm willing to take."
However, law enforcement eventually did rush in and caused major damage to the house while looking for the suspect.
Groves offered no apologies, but Fox 14 noted that there is a program the FBI offers to help pay for repairs. However, the money that the FBI offered Lane will not cover the cost of repairs, according to the GoFundMe page set up to help Lane and her five children have a Merry Christmas.
Maklin told Fox 14 that the SWAT team "left holes in ceiling, all the windows were smashed out, holes in were left in the side of the house" and they "ripped her Christmas tree apart."