Man angry after police break into and damage his truck over dubious marijuana suspicion
- The note police left was left on a tiny piece of paper:
The note police left was left on a tiny piece of paper:
your car was checked by TPD K-9. The vehicle was searched For marijuana due to a strong odor coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. Any questions call [phone number]
Mr. Heller is frustrated that police decided to rip his car apart, telling WFLA he would have been happy to let them in the car himself and search without having to cause damage. The truck they ransacked is one he uses for his business, saying, “I’ve got my whole life savings into this truck. It’s like a marketing tool for my business to promote the air horns and everything, just…The horns weren’t working, all the electronics were ripped out.” Oh, and they didn’t find any marijuana because Mr. Heller didn’t have any.
WFLA asked the Tampa Police Department for comment and was told, “While the search is legal, it is not typical. The Tampa Police Department is now reviewing the specifics of this investigation.” Mr. Heller’s attorney, Dominic Fariello, doesn’t agree with the assertion that the search was legal. Mr. Fariello, speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, wondered if his client’s car was singled out because of its appearance. He told the paper, “It sounds like they saw this vehicle and said, ‘There’s probably drugs in there. Let’s go find them.’ It’s almost like they profiled his truck. I like to call it vehicular discrimination.”
Mr. Heller and his attorney have asked for documentation on the search but have not heard back. Meanwhile, they believe the Tampa Police Department should pay for the damage they caused.