'I'm sitting here at gunpoint for no reason'

What happened during warrant raid in Norwalk? Deputies and residents have differing stories
Cary Ashby
Mar 30, 2014

 

Benedict Avenue resident John Collins freely admits his "past is a little dark."

The former heroin addict also said authorities know him "on a need-to-know basis," but for the last four to five years he's led a law-abiding life. Collins showed the Reflector a cell phone app declaring he's been sober for seven months and 15 days as of Sunday.

"I've been doing good with my sobriety," he said.

Huron County sheriff's deputies went to Collins' apartment at 114 1/2 Benedict Ave. reportedly to use a drug-related search warrant Tuesday.

However, the 26-year-old Collins said deputies had no reason to break down his door and handcuff him.

"You can ask anybody -- for the last five years, I've fallen off the map," said Collins, who refers to himself as a self-imposed hermit.

"I don't mess with nobody," added Collins, who only leaves his apartment to go to the store or stay at his mother's residence.

 

The raid

Collins was watching television on his couch just after 7 p.m. Tuesday before deputies entered his apartment. He said he faintly heard someone yell "sheriff!" and by the time he took two steps from his couch to see what was happening, four deputies entered his residence from opposite directions.

"Boom -- they came from that door," he said, indicating his front door, "and boom -- they came from that (back) door."

Collins said deputies told him to get on his stomach and spread his arms. After he complied, he was handcuffed. Later, deputies had him sit back on his couch.

"They left me lying for five to 10 minutes on my belly," Collins recalled, saying deputies searched his residence -- upstairs and downstairs -- during that time frame. "They counted all my pills."

During the search, deputies stepped on a $300 tablet and shattered the screen, Collins said.

"It still works, but I can't let my kid play with it," he said.

Also, when deputies opened the door, a moon decor with a star on top reportedly fell and broke. The decor is a memento of his son, who died still-born when his then-girlfriend was five months pregnant.

"You couldn't give me a million dollars for it. ... That is all I have left that reminds me of my kid," Collins said.

At some point, Detective Sgt. Josh Querin talked with Detective Kayla Zander outside. Collins said he demanded to know why they were there, but he was told to "shut up" and deputies referred to his apartment as a "drug house."

Collins said deputies told him: "You're under arrest for being in a drug house."

Zander later re-entered the apartment. Collins said she read him his rights and then uncuffed his hands, which had been behind his back while he was on the couch. Zander and other deputies went next door, where they arrested two residents -- a man and his mother.

While Collins said he waited inside his apartment with two deputies nearby with their guns reportedly drawn, he remembers "freaking out" and having a panic attack. He has taken anti-anxiety medication since he was a child. Collins said deputies refused to let him take any of that medicine while they waited.

"I'm sitting here at gunpoint for no reason," he remembered thinking. "All of my court fees have been paid up. I've been a law-abiding citizen for the last four years."

Collins' last trip to jail occurred in the fall, when he served a 10-day sentence for failing to undergo anger management counseling.

"The original charge was three years ago," he said.

Detectives reportedly determined Collins wasn't the male suspect they were seeking originally.

Querin reportedly apologized for what happened.

"'I'm sorry for scaring the (expletive) out of you.' That was his exact words," Collins said. "I told him, 'You didn't scare the (expletive) out of me; you scared the living piss out of me.'"

As a result of the incident, Collins no longer keeps his front shades drawn as he used to do and now sleeps at his mother's home. He is picked up by his mother every night about 8 p.m.

"Since that incident happened, I want to be able to see what happens," said Collins, who jumps at the sound of a siren now.

Collins has left messages for 10 attorneys, talked to three or four of them and has an appointment to meet with another. He also has alerted two news agencies and the ACLU.

Collins said, however, that he does not plan to file a lawsuit.

 

Neighbors nabbed

Two of Collins' next-door neighbors, Thomas M. Papp, 34, and his mother, Patricia Papp, 58, both of 114 Benedict Ave., were arrested on secret indictments that same night. Thomas Papp is charged with trafficking in oxycodone in connection with a Sept. 9, 2012 incident. His mother faces a similar felony stemming from a July 8, 2012 offense.

On Sunday, Patricia Papp and another one of her sons, Timothy, said deputies didn't have a warrant when they made the arrests.

"They didn't have the secret indictments on them. ... They're supposed to have the warrants on them," Patricia Papp said.

"Because they messed up, they had to make an arrest," her son added.

Collins, in a separate interview Sunday, said he believes deputies arrested Thomas Papp and his mother "for the purpose of being there."

Chief Deputy Ted Patrick earlier told the Reflector that while deputies were at the triplex, they received a tip that a male suspect who lives nearby -- Thomas Papp -- was wanted on a felony warrant.

Patrick could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Collins questions the logic of the sheriff's spokesman.

"How can you get a tip on a secret indictment if it's a secret indictment?," said Collins, who was unaware the Papps were wanted on warrants.

Patrick also said deputies were looking for another male suspect and while they didn't find him, they used the warrant and seized evidence that will be tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Patricia Papp said she didn't give deputies permission to search her home and they did so after she was arrested and out of the residence.

"They did an illegal search of my house," said Papp, who says deputies seized all of her medication.

The sheriff's office had a different explanation. Patrick said while officers didn't arrest the suspect they were seeking, they used the warrant to seize the evidence.

 

Was NPD there, too?

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light had been notified beforehand that deputies would be using the warrant. He has said none of his officers were involved -- something he reaffirmed Sunday.

The Papps said they saw two Norwalk officers in blue uniforms in or near their residence Tuesday. Papp and her son said one officer was in the front lawn and in the Simply U Tanning parking lot next door and at one point, two officers were in their "living room right there by the door." They added they could tell the difference between the deputies' outfits and the Norwalk officers'.

"I just talked to (Detective Sgt.) Jim Fulton. They were doing another investigation," said Light, who called Fulton to make sure there wasn't a misunderstanding.

 

Suspect being sought

As for the man authorities were seeking Tuesday during the raid, "he comes and visits a couple times a months, but I didn't know he was wanted for anything," Patricia Papp said.

The Reflector isn't naming that suspect because the sheriff's office hasn't released his name.

The mother contests deputies' allegation they have a video recording or photograph of the male suspect leaving the front of her residence.

"As far as I know, he (always) came through the back door," Papp said.

Collins said he doesn't know the 41-year-old man personally.

"I know of him," said Collins, who last talked with the suspect in January. "He doesn't even live here in Norwalk."

Collins, quoting Detective Zander, said authorities thought he and the suspect "look alike from a distance."

Collins, who is about 5-foot-9 and weighs roughly 165 pounds, refuted Zander's claim, saying the other man is 5 feet 4 or 5 inches tall and weighs nearly 130 pounds.

"He's real small; he's a petite dude. (He's) clean shaven," added Collins, who has brown hair and a beard.

Comments

ladydye_5

"Collins has left messages for 10 attorneys, talked to three or four of them and has an appointment to meet with another. He also has alerted two news agencies and the ACLU." But he has NO plans to file a lawsuit?? I ask why has he made all the these phone calls then?

Lawyerintraining

Did you ever think for a moment he hired a attorney to get the items replaced that they broke ( show me one officer who wouldn't cry over there tablet and or comp getting broke) these officers are still on a high of there own for giving each other rewards at the lions banquet....all cops all smiles hummmm but not an average citizen sitting there clapping?????

bullydogs1971

i've got the same question.....JOHN YOU NEED TO SUE THE PANTS OFF OF HURON COUNTY....IF NOT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DO IT SO MAYBE THESE JACK BOOTED THUGS WILL LEARN WHAT A CONSTITUTION AND THEIR OATH TO IT MEANS....WE ARE RAPIDLY BECOMING A POLICE STATE WHERE THESE THUGS THINK THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT TO US PEASANTS...YOU GOT THEM BY THE KAHUNAS! SHOOT FOR A COOL $$$MILLION...PEACE OUT!

truckin

What happened to.....

CLIFF CANNONS comment...

Did he comment too quickly then have his buddy retract it?
Must be nice to have that pull, when and if you feel you it's too Hot a topic..Can't stand the heat cliffy????
and you DID comment BADLY about the law. don't try and hide cliffy

Cliff Cannon

I normally do not respond to your ridiculous comments ,for the simplest of reasons---- they mean nothing to me ,they are normally poorly written and of course as we all know they are typically mean spirited & cruel. In fact I keep in my 'favorites' one of your cruelest attacks on me, just to remind me of the caliber of,er,ah, well, um, gulp, 'man' you truly are. Which helps me very much to ignore you

Yet, this one here is about as ridiculous as you can possibly get. I " commented " here, then had it taken down ? Are you serious ? What would be the point ?

"don't try and hide cliffy " Never have. Never will. I use my own name here for a reason and that reason is quite simple. Because, I want to be held accountable for my words.

So I'd suggest that what ever you took that caused you to hallucinate, you stop using it. Because had I commented on this article, before now, it would still be here.

P.S. Please write back in response and say all your usual, sad, stupid, untrue, mean, hurtful, cruel things which will bring gratefulness to my heart. Because if someone with your character liked me, I would have to consider my self a failure.

rickross2

That was awesome! We all know Truckin is a blow hard. Glad you busted his chops though! Cliff-1 Truckin-0

truckin

I said my peace.. you got the message

and since i know you will check back, (your ego will force you) don't forget to look at my last comment.. See you around.

Cliff Cannon

I will let your words speak for themselves.

truckin

I sure do hear a lot of Blah blah blah
You are a saint in your own mind huh??

bullydogs1971

i've got the same question.....JOHN YOU NEED TO SUE THE PANTS OFF OF HURON COUNTY....IF NOT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DO IT SO MAYBE THESE JACK BOOTED THUGS WILL LEARN WHAT A CONSTITUTION AND THEIR OATH TO IT MEANS....WE ARE RAPIDLY BECOMING A POLICE STATE WHERE THESE THUGS THINK THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT TO US PEASANTS...YOU GOT THEM BY THE KAHUNAS! SHOOT FOR A COOL $$$MILLION...PEACE OUT!

CivilLiberties

Love illegal search and seizures with no consequences to breaking laws that protect citizens like this man. Who although in the past may have done wrong, but obviously when they finished the illegal search of his house found nothing proved he is an 8 innocent man. In big cities people would be losing jobs over such things. SCARY TIMES

Foodforthought

Sounds like HCSO needs to be investigated on this one. Howard needs to step up admit fault and take care of all the bills and make sure this person is paid for the damages and wrong entry!

mitchhegedusic

Congratulations on your sobriety young man! Keep it up!!

just-sayin

I agree congrats on your sobriety!!! Keep your life going in the right direction!

Truth2u

Ok, I'll say it, If the warrant wasn't for his residence then its their lucky day they weren't greeted by Mr. Smith and Mr Wesson. They are nothing less than a Gestapo or SS, they ILLEGALLY and AGGRESSIVELY violated this mans rights and endangered his life!

NOTHING I detest more than a police state out of control and have NO ACCOUNTABILITY !

A few years back an elderly couple was invaded by the SPD on Tiffin ave, WRONG ADDRESS, I believe he died of a heart attack. NOTHING was done to those cops.

We KNOW they surveyed the home with the warrant, they have accurate GPS and due to ineptness or just plan arrogance they activate their testosterone and break into homes. PURE SS tactics. And the liberals want gun control? How about COP Control !

Lawyerintraining

The only thing in that statement he said he heard a fait knock and police so a gun wouldn't of been the right choice when your told who's at the door.....

CivilLiberties

I'm glad that alot of people other than me are afraid of a police state. People who do obey the laws such as myself can look back at history and see that it leads to WWII Germany. It is great to get drugs off the streets but it has to be done legally. People that think and say oh well if it gets drugs off the streets it's OK, are the most dangerous thinking people of all, they ate the same type of people who looked the other way when the Nazis were committing genocide against innocent people. Because people that think that way will let the police and government run over law abiding citizens in the name of drug abusers, until our constitutional rights are completely gone. When Marshall Law was declared in a huge city like Boston after a 19 year old kid who was shot somehow escaped 500 law officers when his brother was killed we should all be alarmed. Then the national guard was called in and they illegally searched 3000 homes looking for a bleeding unarmed 19 year old who was hiding in a boat. Then they compared those law officers to the officers and firemen from the 9/11 incident in New York, SAY WHAT!!! Yes they compared what turned into 25 thousand law officers and national guardsmen looking for ONE 19 year old, to the same people that selflessly risked and lost their lives as truly AMAZING HEROES, and the American people believed and bought into these comparisons. Marshall Law is a Police State, and people need to be aware of what is going on, in this the greatest country in the world!!

Really are you ...

This martial law deal you are talking about. 100% resembles the holocaust in the ten year span from approximately 1935 to 1945 in Germany. The closing of Jewish owned businesses, to the closing of American factories. But here and now if Obama declares martial law it will last for six months and be controlled by FEMA. FEMA will have total control, bypassing presidential and congressional authority. FEMA will have six months then reviewed by the president. If FEMA is in charge, the National Guard will be called up. But the National Guard would have to turn on its own people, this won't happen. So FEMA and the elite need something bigger to happen. Forced debt is their answer. If you look it is happening already. Looking for a job, you will find low pay and not a full 40 hour work week. You must have healthcare, Obamacare. If no healthcare you pay extra in taxes at the end of the year. The raising of taxes on the middle class. How can you survive on a part time 10 to 14 dollar an hour job? Food, rent or mortgage, insurance, auto loan payment, if you are a college student a college loan, and the money needed for raising a family. A raise in taxes, for example cigarettes and gasoline. Cigarettes use to be 75 cents a pack and gasoline use to be 75 cents a gallon. There was leaded gasoline, lead was an additive. With the automation of everything and less manpower required, I am sure these two things cost that much to process when big oil hits record profits. Taxes will be raised on just about everything. The middle class will not be able to afford anything because of this forced debt. I forgot about homeland security. They have the ability to just make you disappear, no questions asked. The dollar will collapse, and FEMA will be in control, and for total control they will have to call in the UN to do their dirty work. Wouldn't Russia love to get up in the United States business? NWO, and we will be working for the elite few. This borderline nazi stuff that just happened in Norwalk will be everywhere, nothing we can do.

Foodforthought

and for those of you who dont think this could happen, keep supporting that idiot in office in DC and see just what does, or wait, IS happening!

In my opinon

@Food, GIVE me a break, you are one of those people who will blame this president for everything. Now he is responsible for the Huron County Sheriffs stupidity? What a moron...

shovelhead's picture
shovelhead

These are good statements, but nobody will ever stand up & fight until it gets really bad. History tells us that the gov't will win the next time. The jews never knew they had a problem until they locked the doors on the traincars.

exoticnoise420

HCSO needs too pay for this one. Atleast some innocent person didn't get shot like one did in Willard. This guy should sue. These officers act like they can do anything just because they have badges. b.S.

tbh

I normally support the brave work our police force do on a daily, but something about this story has me outrage! I hope the reflector has this story wrong or missing a lot of details? If this raid went down as reported here, heads need to roll and people at the top need to be fired. I know there's a lot of good cops and sheriffs in huron county but we can't have this. Dane or whoever is in charge now will have to take responsibility for this and resign or be terminated.

Truckstop

Lets differentiate between the Norwalk police, who are professional and don't arrest people arbitrarily, and the Sheriff's office, which should fire their boy "detective" for incompetence.

In my opinon

Don't be giving NPD any merit badges, a few years ago they surrounded my neighbors house, must have been 5 police cars, had police in their back yard, on the front porch, beating on the front door and asking to search the place all because someone bailed from a car and someone THOUGHT they went in their house..Well it was after dark, (maybe they went between the houses) long story short my neighbors are in their 70's with health problems, thank God they were ok. Law enforcement is getting out of control in all dept's. They owe him an apology and replace his broken items.

hambone

You are very lucky that they didn't say they found something but, it was a small amount and it was used to test, I was arrested anyhow, for nothing.

OneLocalVoice

As Paul Harvey used to say, "What separates most cops from most crooks today...only the prison bars."

Fibber Mcgee

Paul Harvey said that? Wow, good day!

howcanthisbe

So if I am correct in reading all of these articles and the articles in the sandusky register, read carefully and it clearly says that the person named on the warrant indeed visits the NEIGHBORS residence NOT mr. Collins' residence? Sounds ol lady Papp even stated that?! So how on earth was this not a mistake on the hcso behalf? At the minimum apologize to this man and replace his items that your deputies broke! This is such nonsense! Idc what mr. Collins has done in the past even murderers have rights!! Also it states that the "evidence" seized for testing was gotten at the Papp residence NOT his house?! But yet the first article where the hcso gave their acct it clearly was made out to sound that they found "evidence" at mr. Collins residence. Yet another LIE from the oh so righteous hcso. I hope this guy doesn't let this incident throw him off of his sobriety. Keep going and doing good, you're young and have so much potential for a better life regardless of whether you have used drugs or been arrested in the past.

truckin

I am not sure of what previous convictions he has had..
but
What would have happened if his door got busted down and he had a "legally owned" gun next to him and brandished it thinking it was an intruder.

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