A Missouri man is crying foul after video picked up on his home surveillance system showed a police officer casually opening the door to his car and taking a peek inside as part of a car break-in investigation.
The O’Fallon Police Department says the officer was just doing his job.
The resident, James Lewis, wants the officer to be charged with breaking-and-entering, according to KMOV-CBS.
“I would like to see a charge because that’s technically breaking-and-entering,” Lewis told the news station. “He went into my vehicle without a search warrant, without authorization.
“There is no evidence of a crime in my vehicle. I’m not wanted for nothing.”
Lewis acknowledged that the officer did knock on his front door, but noted that he was too busy at the time to answer.
The assistant police chief, Major John Neske, told KMOV that police were called to Lewis’s neighborhood to investigate a rash of car break-ins. He said thieves were checking door handles for unlocked cars. Officers, according to Neske, followed snowy footprints potentially belonging to the alleged perps and checked doors themselves.
“If they, opened, they took a quick peek in, shut the door,” he said. “Or if it looked rummaged through, they tried to contact the homeowner then to identify additional vehicles.”
Neske defended that actions of his officers, according to KMOV, and argued that “breaking-and-entering” isn’t an offense as there was no criminal intent.
— KMOV (@KMOV) March 1, 2019
“The only intent of the officers that morning was to help the citizens of O’Fallon and catch somebody that was victimizing our citizens,” Neske told the news station. “They decided to walk that neighborhood in zero-degree temperatures to try and find additional victims.
“I applaud them.”
Lewis isn’t applauding anyone.
KMOV reports that Lewis has hired an attorney and is looking to file criminal charges against the officer.