Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

FBI inquiry under way in conduct of police

Some allege that officers posed as federal agents

June 15, 2006


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is questioning whether Lawrence Police officers have improperly posed as federal agents when interrogating suspects, the Journal-World has learned.

The FBI inquiry stems from allegations that Lawrence Police claimed to be agents from the FBI when questioning people during the police investigation of an alleged fencing operation at the Yellow House secondhand shop, 1904 Mass.

"We are attempting to resolve whether or not a person or persons falsely represented themselves as FBI agents," FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza confirmed Wednesday.

Lanza would not comment further.

But sources with knowledge of the investigation told the Journal-World the FBI inquiry was prompted by complaints from Sarah Swain, attorney for the secondhand store, and others close to the fencing probe.

The sources also said the FBI was never involved in the actual fencing investigation, but was only involved because of allegations against the police.

The Lawrence Police Department would not comment for this article because it involved another agency's investigation, spokeswoman Kim Murphree said Wednesday.

Agents from the FBI have already met with Swain and the police department, in part to establish that the FBI was not actually involved in investigating the Yellow House.

Carrie Neighbors waits for customers inside her secondhand store, The Yellow House, 1904 Mass. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the Lawrence Police Department because of allegations that officers were posing as federal agents in a fencing probe involving Yellow House.

Carrie Neighbors waits for customers inside her secondhand store, The Yellow House, 1904 Mass. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the Lawrence Police Department because of allegations that officers were posing as federal agents in a fencing probe involving Yellow House.

The meeting between Lawrence Police Sgt. Mike Pattrick and FBI Special Agent Bob Shaefer was at the request of Swain, who had heard from Yellow House owners Guy and Carrie Neighbors and others that FBI agents were using the Douglas County Law Enforcement Center to interview people who sold merchandise to the store.

That allegation culminated in a sworn affidavit from Lawrence resident Laura Helm, who said two men identifying themselves as FBI agents had taken her from her brother's home to the police station to interview her.

According to the affidavit, the men questioned Helm for 90 minutes before driving her back to her brother's home.

"They questioned me about items I had sold to the Yellow House in the past," she said in the affidavit. "They told me they obtained my name through checks that were written by the Yellow House."

Helm said in the affidavit that the men had guns and badges on their belts, and that at least one of the men knew the door code needed to enter the Law Enforcement Center.

Helm is on probation for attempted forgery and reported the incident to Harley Eddis, her probation officer, the affidavit said.

During the meeting of Swain, Pattrick and Shaefer, Swain said both men told her the FBI had no involvement in the Yellow House investigation.

"Shaefer told me that the FBI would not be involved," Swain said. "There is no interagency task force or anything like that."

When Swain contacted the police department to confirm the FBI's involvement in the investigation of her clients, Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin would only confirm that the appropriate federal agents had been contacted, according to a letter from Olin to Swain, a copy of which was obtained by the Journal-World.

"(LPD) Officer (Jay) Bialek assures me that he has contacted the agents involved and has informed them of your wish to be contacted," he wrote Swain.

Bialek is involved in the investigation of the Yellow House.

Olin said in the letter that he would not name any federal investigators involved, but did mention the meeting between Swain, Pattrick and Shaefer, and said that all further questions should be addressed to U.S. Atty. Marietta Parker, who is handling prosecution on the federal level.

Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, would not comment on whether his office was involved in the fencing investigation.

Yellow House, 1904 Mass.

Police acknowledged assistance from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service in a news release from December when police served an initial search warrant against Yellow House.

The release called the alleged fencing operation, which entails the purchase and resale of stolen goods, "one of the largest, most sophisticated fencing operations we have seen in Lawrence."

The statement also said the findings were the result of a two-month investigation.

Since then, police have offered little in the way of evidence or information regarding the alleged fencing operation until last month, when police again served a search warrant against the business.

So far, there have been no charges or arrest warrants filed in the Yellow House case.


ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

conservativeman: It is okay to question authority. I believe that is what smitty is trying to say.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

I guess the FBI has a reputation to protect; they don't want the LPD making them look any better. FBI, CIA, NSA, RIAA, MPAA!

NotASquishHead 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm going to laugh when the Neighbors end up being "Neighbors" with "Bubba" in Federal Prison. It appears to me that all they are trying to do is distract the investigation. Good work LPD.

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 10 months ago

"Helm is on probation forattempted forgery..."

Yeah, as if she would never make something up to save her friends ass. So they are basing their investigation on the affidavit of a convicted felon?? That's gotta be a strong case...

hk45 11 years, 10 months ago

I think it sounds more like Swain is trying to turn the focus away from her guilty client and towards the police department.

KSChick1 11 years, 10 months ago

a few months ago somebody stole some little white bins with drawers from my garage oh wait they're in the picture behind her

LOL j/k

Ray Miller 11 years, 10 months ago

Originally posted by hk45: "I think it sounds more like Swain is trying to turn the focus away from her guilty client and towards the police department."

Hey, it worked for OJ. Then again, Swain is no Johnny Cochran, either.

cutny 11 years, 10 months ago

Nice to see someone go up against the LPD. This is just the latest in a long list of dubious tactics they've employed to harass citizens and therefore, the taxpayers that pay their salary. Of course we all know that the LPD has done plenty of good work, as well. Still, they are not above the laws they are sworn to enforce.

sandrat7 11 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

hipper_than_hip 11 years, 10 months ago

The FBI doesn't like to look bad, and having local cops pretending to be FBI agents doesn't sit well with them.

The FBI consider themselves the elite law enforcement agency in the country, and they have no qualms about crushing rogue cops who pretend to be G-men.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 10 months ago

I have had Carrie come out to my house a few times to fix my appliances that had gone crazy. She seems nice and I hope things work out for her. I don't know her personally, so therefore I can't judge her.

As far as the police are concerned, let me throw this one at you.

My son got a speeding ticket last week. He was going 43 down the hill on 9th St. We all know its a 30 MPH zone. He was coming home from work ( going east ) and the officer was heading up the hill ( going west ) when he flipped a uturn, then pulled my son over. Of course he explained why he was pulling him over and wrote him a ticket.

My son is 17, and will be 18 in two weeks figures he can fight this was because he was braking the whole way down to slow his speed. I told him to try, but to not hold his breath either. When the officer handed my son the ticket to sign he told my son his court date. My son took the ticket and said to the officer, " This is the date, so I can go to court and fight it." The officer after hearing that said to my son, " Oh, you plan on fighting this in court do you ? " He then took the ticket back and added illegal tags to it too. My son was one shy of changing his registration from hos old car to his new one.

I do realize that the law is the law and you are supposed to change over tags and regs in 30 days. I told him this and he put it off.

What I want to know if this officer can add another charge to a ticket? I'm not sure so I figured I would ask.

Lowell Holmes 11 years, 10 months ago

Princess, the officer can add charges up until the ticket gets signed, then all he has o do is write another ticket assuming the violation is still going on(ie. expired tags)

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

OMFG!! Ya'll know how I feel already so I'm not even going to.....JESUS CHRIST It makes me so mad I could just......GRRRRRR.......($()*)_%#!!?@!........FREAKIN' PIG COPS!!!! Okay, that's better. :)

Italianprincess, I'm sorry for what happened to your son, but enforcer is right. They can do whatever they want and there's not a darned thing any of us can do to stop it. The judges back the pigs, the pigs back each other, Olin backs the whole lot of them and we're all left swinging in the wind. It's enough to make a person want to lose their mind.

Topside 11 years, 10 months ago

This is the first I heard of alledged "fencing" at the yellow house. Been awhile since I've been there but, it's nice to see the LPD using our tax money to bust the toupe/wig and 15-20 yr old washing machine rackets. Because the last time I was in there those comprised about 80-90 percent of their merchandise.

nekansan 11 years, 10 months ago

The answer is, the officer can choose to not write a citation for people who seem repentant and admit they made an honest mistake. If your son was speeding then he deserved a ticket. Getting smart with the officer is not the way to gain sympathy and probably caused him/her to decide giving an unappreciative driver a break was not the thing to do. Maybe it will teach him a lesson for the future.

christie 11 years, 10 months ago

It's been about what, 8 months since the police busted what they claimed was the 'biggest' fencing operation they've ever seen? And still, no charges?

If their lawyer was worth his salt he'd demand a speedy trial, and get this thing over with. The police don't have squat. After the aquittal, I'd sue the pants off of the cops here.

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

Bottom line of this story is that someone in law enforcement is lying. Either the FBI is lying by saying that they are not involved or the LPD is lying by saying that they are. Clearly in the letter cheif Ron Olin is saying to their attorney that the FBI is involved. Logic tells us that if the FBI really was involved they would not be investigating the LPD now to find out if they were posing as FBI agents! it's not rocket science.

The police have given back their stuff and now 7 months later still can't come up with a darn thing...?? How can they still be "investigating" if they have given their property back? They just need to admit that they thought they were going to have a big bust and take down the "largest fencing operation" and what they ended up with was their foot in their mouth and a hand full of angry FBI investigators. Your tax dollars are well spent. But for anyone training to be a police officer, I believe lawrence will have some openings soon!!! HAHAHAHA

torcia 11 years, 10 months ago

"It's been about what, 8 months since the police busted what they claimed was the 'biggest' fencing operation they've ever seen? And still, no charges?

If their lawyer was worth his salt he'd demand a speedy trial, and get this thing over with."

Christie, the speedy trial clock does not start until arraignment and the defendant has entered a plea. Charges have not even been filed. No speedy trial issue. Sorry

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

I totally agree with nekansan, officers will usually let you off with a verbal warning (unless it is something serious) You have to be polite and cordial and they usually let you be on your way. Get lippy? They write tickets. I know somebody who had an expired driver license, expired tags and was speeding and the officer gave him a warning because he admitted his guilt and wasn't being rude. The officer gave him a warning. Be a person instead of a smart a@@ and you will usually find they are nice right back. They don't want that extra paper work or have to go to court either. It's all about respect for others.

brfts 11 years, 10 months ago

especially from the LPD. some of the most crooked cops are in Lawrence, KS apparently.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

You don't need to kiss any a**. Just respect them as you would any other human being on the planet. They are doing their job. Do you get attitude from doing your job? Probably not, at least not in the same manner. I am just saying we are all people. Some are bad, some are good. But at least try to act civil.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 11 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence Police in wrongdoing????Who would of thunk it! I am glad to see that this bunch of thugs and liars are finally getting some light of truth. I have written proof of their misconduct and violation of rights guaranteed under the constitution, but Herr Olin continues to tolerate his stormtroopers and their outrageous conduct. When the snake is loose and out of control it is time to cut off the head. Are you listening, Boog?

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

Though I no longer live in Lawrence, I have been pulled over a total of probably 10 times and only given a ticket once. Most LPD are pretty easygoing guys. I now live in Northern VA, suberb of Washington DC. You want to see some real hard asses, come out here and drive. It is like comparing apples to oranges.

It appears to me the County Prosecutor doesn't have any concrete evidence or they would have filed charges by now. Also, this article is very crafty and indicative of the yellow journalism put out by the Urinal World. It doesn't state any where that the FBI has acknowledged an investigation or lack thereof. It is all based on information from a "source" and Swain. This article is smoke and mirrors most likely executed by what seems to be a somewhat slick defense attorney using some fairly simple Johnnie Cochran tactics.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure how my son's tone was, but I'm certain he wasn't to happy.


I was simply asking a question. I'm not at all defending my son for this ticket. Its a lesson learned, deal with it and slow down.

I was just wanting to know of they can do that and I got some answers to the fact that they can do what they want.


The officer took back the ticket and added the second charge after my son signed it. He didn't write another ticket. That was my question and I got answers.


Oh, believe me........I am not sorry my son got this ticket. I told him time and time again to slow it down. He goes standard rate with our insurance company this September, so maybe he will get it then.

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

BEN_NESS, you must not have read the article very carefully, the FBI spokesman is quoted saying they are investigating weather or not the LPD posed as FBI agents. Straight from the horses mouth. Trust me. The FBI are involved and they are in lawrence. Weather they are involved in investigating the yellow house or involved in investigating the wrongdoing of the LPD is a matter of who you think is lying...LPD or FBI.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

Oh no, you misunderstand me IP, I'm not sorry your son got the ticket. I, myself, had to be taught a lesson about lead foot syndrome. It's good that he learns that now. I'm sorry that the jerk cop added another infraction after your son stated his intent to fight the speeding ticket. That's just plain smarmy, but then again, I'm not surprised. : |

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like enforcer has seen his fair share of cops and problems in his day and that is why he is so bitter towards them. Maybe you did get some d-bag of a cop in a situation that treated you unfairly, but can you really say they are ALL bad? You can't judge a group of people by what one or two of them have done. That is so stereotyping. So basically whatever it is that you do for a living, maybe there are some that are terrible people in that line of work, does that mean we can treat you like crap cause you are in the same line of work? No, you must be judged on your own actions, not those of others. I'm just saying they aren't all terrible people. It's their job. Sometimes there are things in your job you don't like doing, but if you didn't then the rest of the world would be meyhem.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

I read the article very carefully, mutpuppy. The FBI said they were investigating the LPD but never said they weren't involved in the yellowhouse investigation. Who is to say they are even investigating the LPD, it seems to me they are more just appeasing the public. Unless you are directly involved with the LPD or the FBI you don't have a clue as to what is actually going on. So, little dog, unless you are an FBI agent with intricate knowledge of their stategies and tactics, I would stop believing everything you read in the newspaper. Unless, of course, you would prefer to have the Journal World form your opinion for you.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

All I am trying to say is that people involved in this investigation are being played like the funky piano, and it isn't the LPD or the FBI.

Topside 11 years, 10 months ago

"wearin that badge don't make you right. Who the hell do you think you are" -either a clanton or Mclowry

"Yeah that's real good law dog. THat kind of law just don't go around here law dog"-Ike Clanton

Sorry, the above posts reminded me of Tombstone.

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

Some of you amaze me, you remind us that they are innocent until proven guilty but are quick to judge the LPD based on inuendos and statements from a convicted forgerer. As far as the delay in the filing of charges, if this is in fact the largest fencing operation in Lawrence, it will take time to put the case together. Before LPD submits the case to the DA they must have all of their ducks in a row. Some of you watch too much tv, smoke too much pot and just hate authority. Get a life. For those of you that think busting a 2nd hand store that sells broken down washing machines, well, IF they are fencing stolen goods, chances are they aren't being sold in the store, they are probably using Ebay or some other venue as not to draw attention to their run down shack. Maybe if your house was burglarized or your store ripped off and these people were benefiting from your losses maybe you wouldn't be so quick to let them off the hook. I say, "good job LPD, keep up the good work".

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

This artilce isn'te ven abotu weather the yellow house are guilty. It is a federal offense for a police officer to pose as FBI agents and that is what is in question in this article.

LPD should brush up in their legal practices before they practice law. The lady in the article is not the only one who signed affidavits saying she was told they were FBI.. Now all the people are conspiring against the police???? give me a break.

Sigmund 11 years, 10 months ago

The FBI is everywhere, that is why every agent is a special agent.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

So, mutpuppy, it appears you ARE an expert on the law. Isn't it illegal for anybody, except a federal agent, to pose as a federal agent? Furthermore, isn't an FBI agent considered an officer of the law much the same as a police officer? My knowledge of the law sucks as I am not an attorney. Can you please site the material you found in which it states it is illegal for a police officer to pose as a federal agent.

I also find it interesting that a woman convicted of check forgery is the anchor of this investigation. I definitely believe her over Chief Olin.

hk45 11 years, 10 months ago

Why would the LPD pose as the FBI if the FBI would probably find out and investigate it? I would think the LPD is much smarter than that. Once again...I think Swain is just deflecting the spotlight away from her guilty client and towards the LPD. The tactic may work...but I doubt it.

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

So you are going to take the statements of a convicted forgerer because she filled out an affidavit? Okay. That's you're call. I bet you wouldn't take one of her checks though would you? Forgery is a crime of DISHONESTY! Frankly, I don't care if the LPD posed as the FBI but I doubt very seriously if they did, they don't need too. What probably happened was the forgerer was told this case could go federal and from that little Ms. Forgerer made assumptions that the FBI was involved. Bottom line is, who cares? Does it change whether or not the Yellow House was fencing stolen goods? No! I don't know if they did it or not, that's what trials are for. Of course some of you won't afford the same to the LPD, they're "guilty" and you base that one the things that you see on TV, things that go through your end while you're high on weed or trippin on acid, or you just get off on being conspiracy theroists. Get a life.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

Insider: It appears that you, also, are an infiltrator. Sources close to this investigation have also notified me that insiders with inside information are not to be trusted either as their undisputed fact is erroneous and based only on conjecture from sources only close to the investigation and not directly involved.

Come on dude, if you are going to give us something, at least make it worthwhile as opposed to some second rate rhetoric about "sources close to the investigation" told me this.

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

Swain is a nice lady but I'm not sure she's up to the task here. The DA's office is loaded with solid prosecutors that will hand her her lunch in court. THe more attention this case gets, the tighter the LPD will wrap this case and the harder the DA's office will prep for trial. She's not doing her client many favors here, I assure you of that.

Hawkman 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow...enforcer is such a bitter old woman, huh? When you break the law you pay the consequences. She should know that by now through experiences. During the last month I have had contact twice with the police department and both times they were very helpful and friendly. As a matter of fact, they went out of their way to locate me in Kansas City because of an issue that happened at my home while I was away. Maybe the enforcer and her little dogs too need to follow the yellow brick road OUT of Kansas and quit bitchin' about her life here.

paladin 11 years, 10 months ago

I think that, the people at Yellowhouse should move on, if they're smart. Get out! I worked with the Ron back in the early 70's, and he is a tenacious guy, annal retentive in a big way, believes in what he's doing, does everything by the book, and will get you in the End. But, he is truly a good person and is dedicated to serving for the public good. I didn't like him much, personally, but I think that he is a definite asset for Lawrence. Its obvious that the Yellowhouse people are up to no good. Better get out while you can.

Jamesaust 11 years, 10 months ago

"...please site the material ... which it states it is illegal for a police officer to pose as a federal agent."

United States Code, Chapter 18 "Crimes and Criminal Procedure" Chapter 43 "False Personation" Section 912: "Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

fiveohtr 11 years, 10 months ago

I would like to know the name of one "solid prosecutor" in the DA's office that could hand Ms. Swain her lunch in court. Ms. Swains cases usually never make it to court, as the case is dropped by those "solid prosecutors" because they are too scared to be up against her in court.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

fiveohtr: Most cases in general don't make it to court. Swain must be one hell of a defense attorney. I guess this would explain her exquisite office space at 6th and Missouri street. Prosecutors are like a group of mad dogs with little or no fear of anything or anybody. They are probably about as scared of Swain as they are a soft, cuddly little cat.

lunacydetector 11 years, 10 months ago

could the lady be confusing the FBI with the KBI?

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

Insider, if the information is public information, can you please let the rest of us know where we can find it.


fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

whoa...first shots at the size of her office, man have women told you that size doesn't matter for your whole adult life. I've never seen Ms. Swain's office, but I would just figure that she has a small office to keep the overhead down.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

At least she has an office to work out of. Most attorney's in Lawrence work out of the living room, and meet their clients at the courthouse.

torcia 11 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Damon, I've always wondered how good of an internet connection you could get on the laptops on the cop cars, now I know there is a good enough connection to blog all morning while posted up trying to catch speeding drivers.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

Where does it matter where their office is? It's their brains and expertise that matters. I'm not going to hire an attorney for his/her office space or their clothing for that matter.

But I do have to say, I do think she is reaching for straws on this one.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow, using words like affiant I can only surmise that you are in the legal profession. Could it be Swain herself? Or, perhaps somebody at the DA's office. Isn't the affiant a convicted check forger? If it is from another source, please let me know. If it is from Laura Helm, I am sure while admissible, it is also open to some serious scrutiny.

Uhhhhm, also, Insider, I would suggest learning how to read this blog. I made the remark regarding 6th and Missouri, not Lunacydetector.

I know you are new to this whole blogging thing. The one piece of advise I can give you is don't take any of it personally. We are all hard on each other here.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

the only "advice" I can give you is proofreading, however don't take it personal.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

fdalpd, will do. BTW - laptops are in the police cars not on them :) I would also advise you to avoid run on sentences and poor useage of apostrophes.

torcia 11 years, 10 months ago

Insider-- If you were in a wreck and your car was on fire would you expect a cop to risk his/her life to save you? Can you say anything good about cops?

"In addition to the investigation, hopefully the ACLU will also expose the LPD for what they really are.....rights violators. You have consistently violated the constitutional rights of Lawrence citizens. "

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

So back to the issue at hand...the LPD going into the YellowHouse without warrants and searching the premises, seizing property of the YellowHouse, running surveillance and taking pictures of customers of the YellowHouse, searching cars of customers of the YellowHouse.

Mr. and Mrs. Neighbors do require people wishing to sell property to the YellowHouse to sign a documents that promises that the property is not stolen. Sounds like Mr. and Mrs. Neighbors are cooperating in the "so called investigation", but still being pushed around by the LPD. After seven months I would hope they would just give up.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Thank you ben_ness, I passed spelling class but never did very good in english class. Go back and read the post, where I said "blog all morning while posted up trying to catch speeding drivers." By posted up, I meant sitting in the patrol cars while waiting for speeders.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

I am grateful for the work that police officers do, what I think Insider is speaking of is the dirty cops that the LPD seems to be full of.

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't trust the LPD to save my life. I am more likely to get saved by one of you, a passerbyer than them. By the time they get there I will have bled to death! I was in a car accident on 23rd street and it took 40 minutes for the police to get there from the time we called them until they arrived. I can drive across lawrence and back 3 times in forty minutes. Might get a speeding ticket though....

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

I have been lucky with my run in with Lawrence cops, they have all been very nice. However, I have never had any run ins with any of the stormtrooper detectives.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

fdalpd: I know what you meant. I was referring to a statement before that. Honestly, I don't care. I was just checking you back. ;)

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

"Damon, I've always wondered how good of an internet connection you could get on the laptops on the cop cars, now I know there is a good enough connection to blog all morning while posted up trying to catch speeding drivers."

They catch speeding drivers? Funny, I always see them in parking lots, two cars at a time, chatting with each other, or at Sonic stuffing their pie-holes. You mean, they have an actual purpose? Wow, someone should tell them!

Kelly Anderson 11 years, 10 months ago


fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

no worries man ben_ness, all in fun.


that is the truth. Probably at Sonic demanding a free ice cream cone to go with their food, and threatening arrest if the poor car hops don't comply.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

Mutpuppy: if the accident you were involved in was not an injury accident then they drive to the scene just like all other people, no lights or sirens. So if they were on the other side of town on a call and had to drive to your location it might take a while and I would bet you good money it did not take them 40 min to get to you.

Curtis Martell 11 years, 10 months ago

macon47 and others. Jeeze you make it sound like Lawrence is being ruled by the corrupt LPD. Get a clue folks, you have it easy compared to Chicago and LA, I know because I lived there. I've lived in Lawrence for 15 years and the only trouble I've had with the police was when I was driving 42 mph in a 30 mph zone and I was guilty of speeding. If you have that much trouble with the LPD, you better rethink the way your acting.

I wouldn't at all be surprised if Yellow House was fencing. I also wouldn't be surprised if 2 LPD officers went over the line investigating it. People break the law all the time and get busted for it. Thats why we have a good police departement, the FBI and a newspaper willing to report whats going on.

Jeeze you people are paranoid.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Well can8iv66049 we don't live in "those" other towns that we hear about on the news. We don't live in New York, so we are not going to blog about the "Mafia Cops" of the NYPD that just got convicted for 8 murders. We don't live in LA so were are not going to blog about the cops in the Rampart division of the LAPD, oh give gang members favors.

We live in Lawrence, so we will blog about current events in our city.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

fdalpd: the cops can NOT take free items from any business, it isn't allowed. It is considered a bribe if they do.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

You are right Sasquatch34, that is why this is investigation has been going on for over a year, still with no arrest.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

I am aware of that reginafliangie, it was just a play off of the discussion of corrupt cops. You know if the cops are as dirty as some are claiming, then I am sure they are dirty enough to demand a free ice cream cone (oh no).

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

That is the problem a lot of us have, Sasquatch34. Just becuase a person has been in trouble with the law before, that doesn't give the police the right to hassle them when they are running a legit business. Just because they may have broken the law before, one can't assume they will do it again.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

Where is this hard evidence of LKPD posing as FBI agents? Just cause some girl said so? Sorry I don't see it as open and shut as that. The problem here is everybody assumes that if it is written down in the news paper it must be true or the paper must have all the facts which they don't. I just think making an assumption without all the facts at this point is just silly.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Well I'm sure nobody in lawrence has extensive experience in investigating fencing operations, so I'm not going to try to say I do. However, what I am saying is that usually when a "case" has so much media and public attention the police department tries to get it wrapped up as quick as possible.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

I believe their lawyer is just trying to get both sides into the media. The LJWorld has ran front page stories about how the "police believe this is the biggest fencing operation", why can't the other side get their story in the media, beside they haven't been charged yet.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

In the affidavit, Laura Helm states the men in questions said they worked "with" the FBI not "for" them. I hate to sound nit-picky but you can work with somebody but not neccessarily for them.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

There is no case to be thrown out, no charges have been filed. To have a case be thrown out on a technicality, one must have a case first.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

When there are hundreds of people involved. Witnesses and police and all the other agencies, etc involved, I would assume it would take more than a few weeks to get all the details hammered out, police wise. Maybe the police are just waiting for the one little piece of evidence that will close this case once and for all. So at this point it is hard to know who is lying or posing and who is not. Only the outcome will tell us the truth, hopefully.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Well this seems like an Insider question, but I believe the answer to that is that the FBI was never even working "with" the LPD. When the FBI became involved is when they had the meeting with Ms. Swain concerning the LPD officers announcing as FBI agents.

Furthermore, the affadavit says "allegation culminated in a sworn affidavit from Lawrence resident Laura Helm, who said two men IDENTIFYING THEMSELVLES AS FBI AGENTS"

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Concerning that issue reginafliangie, if I were of the person being investigated for the last year...there would be no way in hell that the cops would get that "little piece of evidence that will close this case once and for all"

But we are not talking about weeks...this investigation has been ongoing for over a year.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Just to warn everybody...Supreme Court ruled today that cops no longer have to Knock-and-Announce when executing a search warrant.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

But whose to say she isn't lying or she misunderstood the officers. I'm just saying that is a varible. I'm not saying it did or didn't happen, just saying that the situation could be she is saying this to help her friends at the Yellow House. It's not like anybody have ever lied to the police before. Happens every single day. I was just saying until the investigation is done, it could go either way.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

That is a bummer for all of those out there with something to hide.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

I understand people lie to the police, but no arrest in this case, so I would assume that Ms. Helms statements checked out and that led to the FBI getting involved.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

Well a search warrant is a search warrant...cops will get in regardless. However, now they don't have to wait the 10 or 15 seconds after first knocking and getting no answer. Hopefully the cops still have to make sure somebody is home before executing.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

enforcer, people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law; this is a legal issue. If the court of public opinion finds people "guilty" without a trial, they are guility in that arena. On occasion, the court of public opinion changes when the results of the legal court are communicated; sometimes, not (see State vs. Simpson, state of California).

Jamesaust 11 years, 10 months ago

fdalpd -

Actually, you've summed this case up so tightly that you misstate the result.

It is not that "cops no longer have to Knock-and-Announce when executing a search warrant."

Rather, the judicial remedy for failing to do so is not automatically that all evidence gathered, including evidence sought by the warrant, is suppressed. The case actually grants to trial judges the right to make judgments whether to exclude this evidence based on the context (how many seconds passed after the knock? how frequently do these "mistakes" seem to be happening) as well as re-emphasizing that wronged persons retain a right to civil damages against the police.

In short, the Public is not to be punished by denying justice because some policeman waited on 30 seconds when he should have waited 60.

The knock-and-announce rule is judically created to realize the Fourth Amendments guarantee against unreasonable searches. Here, the Court (by one vote) judged that admitting the warrant evidence gathered was not unreasonable.

(No comment though on the quality of the decision itself.)

monkeywrench1969 11 years, 10 months ago

YOu have to take inot consideration...if something is the "biggest" someone has seen they may have a lot of evidence and additional suspects as well as off shoot investigations to clear up in order to take it to trial.

If you have computers to search that takes time, lots of papers and evidence to trace from original owner to the Yellow house...that takes time.

What is the saying "though doth protest too much" If it does pan out...which I think it will...the police did right and they are trying to have their trial in the media as so many do...the clarifiaction the police did right they did wrong will be onthe back page.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone have an asprin? All this reading has brought on a major headache.

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

Enforcer - It is painfully obvious you are not a lawyer, failed civics class and get easily confussed with legal terms, so please stop talking about things you know absolutely nothing about, makes you look . . . dumb.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

i understand Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court has allowed cops to wait 12 seconds before entering, not 30 or 60. This case puts yet another balancing test in the hands of lower courts.

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

Mark my words, when everything is said and done LPD did nothing wrong, Yellow House will go down and Swain will go back to defending traffic offenders. Who ever said her cases never go to trial is right, she pleads them out.

fdalpd 11 years, 10 months ago

either daman is a cop or he needs to learn not to committ his crimes on camera so an attorney doesn't have to plead them out.

thegoodcop 11 years, 10 months ago

daman...i will take 2 of whatever your on. lets not mark your words but say we did.i dont even think u know what u r saying. what u r talking about? even if sawin is defending traffic offenders at least she has a job. Thats still doing more than the LPD has ever done. They should stick to writing traffic tickets and helping people with flat tires. how do u know they dont have them on camera

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

You seem very sure of yourself Insider. I have to cordially disagree with you. The FBI is not going to file charges against anybody in the Lawrence Police Dept. I would put money on it.

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

Insider and Fdalpd....I agree with you.

mutpuppy 11 years, 10 months ago

Beness, the only people who have to worry about that is the LPD and I wouldn't want to be on that side of the bet. They have a lot more to loose don't they.

Confrontation 11 years, 10 months ago

Who here hasn't realized that "Insider" is actually "Swain"?

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

What is it that they have to lose mutpuppy? It isn't like they are going to strike camp and leave town. This is an inquiry by the FBI, not an investigation. As I stated before, nothing is going to come of this except the possible termination of one or two detectives....if it gets that far. An affidavit by which the affiant is a convicted criminal won't stand up to much scrutiny unless they can find a strong corroborating witness.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

enforcer: How about Douglas County Sheriff's? How do you feel about them?

Confrontation 11 years, 10 months ago

ben_ness: Yep, that sealed the deal for me.

ben_ness 11 years, 10 months ago

I would be interested to see if either of the detectives in question were involved with the investigation and subsequent prosecution of Laura Helm.

Baille 11 years, 10 months ago

"Like I said before, if Yellow House is clean, then they have nothing to worry about. "

Oh yeah. Innocent people never get hassled, investigated, violated, or convicted by our law enforcement and judicial systesm.

Please. Google Joe Amrine. Geronimo Pratt.

Locally, Lawrence PD violate the rights of the citizenry all the time, e.g. entering homes without a warrant or exigent circumstances, coercing confessions, and so on. Some of these are taken up by attorneys and some aren't. Some win, some lose. Lawrence isn't special in this manner. Happens all the time everywhere. Matter of fact, as many have pointed out, it is much worse in urban communities with less oversight and social interaction among the citizenry. But to deny that the rights of the innocent are not violated here in Lawrence or - worse - that violating the rights of the guilty is acceptable is naive and dangerous.

For your own sake, I hope you stand down and begin to look at the issues around civil rights and liberties, the historic development of our recognition of limits on the sovereign, and the way our governing institutions interact with individual liberty and the needs of the community.

torcia 11 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Baille 11 years, 10 months ago

"That is a bummer for all of those out there with something to hide."

Or those who are just innocently having dinner when the cops break down their door trying to mistakenly execute a warrant at the wrong address.

(This just happened in a town somewhere west of here, only the police knocked, the occupant answered, and they worked it out together. Somewhat tangentially, I know of a case on a no-knock warrant where they kicked in a door to the wrong house and didn't bother to fix it for over a week.)

geekin_topekan 11 years, 10 months ago

I had a LPD officer pull up to me at the corner of 10th and Mass one summer night.He turned on his cop lights and got out and casually walked over to me and said"You aren't in trouble,I aint gonna run a check on you".He plopped down on the bench with me and said,"truth is..I'm bored". "K"I said. "So tell me,what do the homeless do for food here?" I told him about my various personal and private resources because I assumed he was familiar with LINK.Gave a few more secrets of my life on the streets when one of my lesbian friends dashed out of the bar wearing her summer attire which contained maybe a total of 1 1/2 square feet of material."You comin' in?"she said,"I'm buying!" I admired her departure and glanced over at the cop who was diggin it too.He said to me"I'd be chasing 'that' if I were you". I was somewhat amused and ashamed of the fact that I sometimes I forget that they are indeed human and are expected to be more so than others. Truth is.Go to the big city if you want to see abuse of power with impunity.It's criminal!!

sunshiner 11 years, 10 months ago

too many generalizations... all cops are not bad, but most are. most defense attorneys plead out to the charges, swain does not. usually the cops can get away with anything, but they crossed the line this time with their tactics. I really hope justice is served all the way around and soon--bring charges against yellow house or man-up and admit fault

daman 11 years, 10 months ago

Insider - why do you resort to name calling? Like everyone else here, I am simply stating my opinions but now I'm a "nut case" because I don't agree with you? Cops aren't perfect, and yes they make mistakes, who doesn't. You and others on here characterize them as "scum". That is until you are in need of their services.

justsomewench 11 years, 10 months ago

time for a poem, anyone?

(sorry, i couldn't resist)

Terry Jacobsen 11 years, 10 months ago

CONFORMISTS! I wouldn't kiss a cops a** for nothing. Respect is not a right and low life cops do not deserve respect. "Enforcer"

Who said this cop was a low life? I have seen many Lawrence police who were saving lives and helping people. I appreciate what they do in keeping our city safe.

No one suggested that anyone kiss anyone else's backside. Courtesy should be given by everyone.

Susan Mangan 11 years, 10 months ago

Here's my question...who on the City Commission or police department owns an appliance store? I know one of the owners and I believe the charges are absolutely outrageous. Any half-a##ed investigation that found ANY evidence would have resulted in charges by now...certainly not the return of the merchandise in question. All I wonder is why they have been going after Yellow House so fervently. I would almost bet money that, if someone did some digging, they would find out that there are major connections with someone in our small town policital or police arena and an appliance retailer. Maybe hiding behind an incorporation to hide their identity? Now that would be an interesting investigative report for the LJW to do.

Baille 11 years, 10 months ago

"I am sure the sensationalist rag you call the Journal World would have been all over stories like that...but thats just it...stories...fiction."

Whatever. You clearly have no first hand knowledge of anything and are just spouting off. Media never covers the hundreds of viable cases of med mal filed every month in Kansas and Missouri, or the hundreds that settle every year. They don't cover the hundreds of CINC cases filed or the dozens of small out of court settlements for minor constitutional violations by state officials. They don't cover every jail house death. They don't cover every case of slander, dangerous exchange of bodily fluids, or the thousands of domestic batteries. Therefore, none of it must happen.

Grow up? OK.

Susan Mangan 11 years, 10 months ago

Marion -

I like your poetry :-) You seem inspired tonight!

brujablanco 11 years, 10 months ago

It is not against the law to use a parolee as an informant unless the act would cause them to violate their parole. Lots of wanna be legal beagles out there that can't seem to get their facts right prior to posting.

hk45 11 years, 10 months ago

Actually enforcer, I think they can work as an informant with the permission of their probation/parole officer. You might want to get your facts right.

yellowhouse 11 years, 10 months ago

Thannks to all those in the community that know us and have stood by us! This whole situation has been devastating to our finances, our reputation, our business, our family, and our abiltiy to advocate for children.

We appreciate all the cards, phone calls, hugs, listening ears, people bringing in reciepts for things they sold us to prove it wasn't stolen, and prayers of support.

This includes several police officers who have stood by us and also shown us their support.

Lawrence truly is a wonderful community! God bless you all!


yellowhouse 11 years, 10 months ago

ACCEPTANCE---by carrie neighbors

Hush for just a moment

Be not hasty in your way

For God already made the light

That will guide you through this day

Accept his will, now hush be still

The circumstance is right

Though it maybe hardship

God has you in his sight.

Only eyes of faith can trust

God has a greater plan

That on this road of hardship

You might help your fellow man.

frowns 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure but the Oficer Jay Bialek that I know is about oh let's say the size of a small 10 year old child. I'm pretty sure that there isn't a whole lot of intimidation going on.

cronk 11 years, 10 months ago

Our origination is setting up a web site where the average person can go to and leave your police stories Good or Bad and the stories will be posted for all to read, and we will have the site set up so a person can pick a state enter a officer's name and be able to pull up information about that officer from news paper articles and or from the posted stories, this way if a officer moves from state to state he or she can still be held accountable for the decision they make or do not make. This kind of web site would be good in helping show different patterns of behavior for officers who have issues. It will be a few weeks before we get the site up and running, in the mean time i would love to start collecting Lawrence police stories please send your stories to I will add you to my contact list and when the days story go's out you will get a copy if it in your email. If you send in a story please inform me as to if you would like to be added to the mailing list. Please keep in mind we have about 107 police officers on the police dept. and i think only 12% of them have serious issues. This new site is not a Bash all of the police site , we will be collecting information to help show patterns need to show abuse or patterns of being a great officer. If a cop breaks the law or violates your rights please let us know. We are also looking for suggestions about the legal aspect of this idea, and any tips to make it work smooth. Please email me my name is UN and my email address is Thanks Please tell your buddies about us, make sure they have our email address.

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