Burrillville House Hunters End Up In Handcuffs
They were looking to buy a foreclosed home but ended up in handcuffs. Three young men from North Smithfield peeking into the windows of a vacant Burrillville home were mistaken for vandals by police.
The vacant home has been on the police's radar because it's been a target for parties and vandalism. So when these house hunters tried to check the place out, they were mistaken for vandals.
The foreclosed home is valued at nearly a half million dollars and has suffered close to 50- thousand dollars worth of damage.
20-year-old Jack Babineau says he, his brother Joe, and their cousin were checking out the house for their parents, who were interested in buying.
“We were just looking at the house to see the extent of the damage,” said Babineau.
The home has been vacant for months, making it a target for vandalism and theft. Which may be why a neighbor called police, when they saw Babineau and the two others peeking through the windows.
Babineau says they were estimating the cost to repair the damage in the back of the home, when an officer came around the corner, his hand on his gun.
Babineau says, “they told me to get down on the ground, asked me why I was there, who I was with.”
Major Lareto Guglietta of the Burrillville Police Department says the home has a history of vandalism and trespassing.
Guglietta says, “we cuffed the subjects while they were on the ground and ended up interviewing them finding out why they were there.”
No one was hurt during the mix-up and no charges were filed. Police agreed the men had good intentions. They say their run in with police has them re-thinking the way they go house hunting.
“We could have called the bank and the realtor and gotten permission to go there,” said Babineau.
Babineau says his parents are interested in the home. They had been in contact with the realtor about buying it, which is why they figured it was ok to check it out. But police say you have to be accompanied by a real estate broker or you could face trespassing charges.