Falsely Accused

English: I took photo in Lamar, CO, with Canon...

English: I took photo in Lamar, CO, with Canon camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Kim Piner listed *horse tack* for sale on a local Facebook page, she didn’t expect to have a visit from the local Sheriff department, or to be accused of selling stolen goods. Lifetime citizens of Prowers County, Kim and Alden Piner have a solid law-abiding record of good citizenship.

English: Cornfields in Prowers County, Colorad...

English: Cornfields in Prowers County, Colorado, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Selling stolen goods online would never have occurred to them, because they’d never steal. But that didn’t matter when large numbers of Deputies from both the Prowers County and Bent County Sheriff’s Offices knocked on their door December 6th, 2012. The neighbors might have thought it a bit odd, to have several deputy sheriff vehicles (from two counties) filling up the neighborhood and armed deputies rushing toward the Piner residence.

Hours wasted at the County Sheriff’s department while the Piner’s defended themselves against the outrageous search of their residence, could have been better spent with the Sheriff’s deputies out searching for real criminals, drug runners selling drugs to children on the streets, or finding illegal immigrants who are misbehaving and beating up local youth? But, that wasn’t the case. Prowers County’s finest spent an afternoon – five hours – questioning law abiding citizens about personal property they’d legally sold on a Facebook page, set up by local folks for that express purpose.

But whose fault was it?

English: ATSF locomotive. I took photo with Ca...

English: ATSF locomotive. I took photo with Canon camera in Lamar, CO. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was it really the fault of Prowers County Sheriff’s Department, who have now *distanced* themselves from the case? Or was it an overzealous deputy from a neighboring community, hell-bent on proving her worth to the department. Going over and beyond the call of duty, searching out information on the Piners through a mutual ‘friend’s Facebook’ page? Could it be that Tandy Parrish-Hasser overstepped privacy laws and acted outside the law to prove a case she REALLY didn’t have against Kim and Alden Piner by invading the privacy of their only mutual Facebook friend, Jan Verhoeff?

At what point did this case cross the line between investigation and personal vendetta, or worse political lynching?

Quoted from the Lamar Ledger:

The Prowers County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Bent County Sheriff’s Office in serving a search warrant in the 1000 block of South 12th Street on Thu., Dec. 6, 2012.
The search warrant was to locate stolen “horse tack.” Several sheriff vehicles from Prowers and Bent County were on scene to serve the search warrant.
Sheriff Faull stated, “I want the neighbors and people driving by the residence on south 12th during that time to know that no stolen property was located and that follow up investigations showed that the people in question were totally innocent and the information to obtain the warrant proved to be inaccurate.”

Correct me if I’m wrong… But this would indicate that Sheriff Faull and his Deputies realized the warrant was ILLEGALLY OBTAINED and the persons in question (Kim and Alden Piner) were totally and completely innocent of any and all wrong doing.

When I asked Kim Piner if Tandy Parrish-Hasser (a deputy sheriff officer from Bent County and the officer who had bullishly pushed the warrant through various levels of the judicial system prior to arrival at the Piner home) was on hand from the beginning, she said, “Oh yea, in a big, hateful-smug kind of way. If you were here I would show you the warrant, she lied about the vehicles that we own to make them match the description of the vehicles seen on the property. Prowers County Deputies said that they were washing their hands of this whole case, because of all the mis-information.”

So… What brings me… Jan Verhoeff, a former resident of Lamar, who has maintained a blog here at LamarCo.US for the past many years, in on this case… Facebook friendship.

I was the friend’s facebook that Sheriff Deputy, Tandy Parrish-Hasser chose to snoop through to obtain information about Kim and Alden Piner. I suppose at this point, it might be wise to note that I don’t know Tandy Parrish-Hasser personally, and I definitely do know Kim Piner personally. Kim and I have been friendly acquaintances for several years, because not only did she wait on me at Safeway, but she graduated from high school with my sister, and she liked to shop at ALCO where my mother worked for many years. So, the disclaimer here — I have no clue what Tandy thought she was doing on my Facebook page, but I certainly – MOST CERTAINLY – do not appreciate having my information sorted through in such a manner for illegal purposes.

On December 14th, mad as a hornet, with every conceivable right to be furious, Kim sent me a message after I’d commented on her wall about the gross indignation she’d suffered at the hands of the two County Departments. Kim asked me, “I was wondering what your relationship is with Tandy Parrish-Hasser, she is on your friends list? She is a deputy with the Bent County Sheriffs office. We just received the actual warrant that was never served on us. In it, she states that she went to my personal Facebook page and looked at my complete profile. I have my profile set to private except to friends on most things I thought, but now I know it is “friends of friends.” Prowers County has cleared us of all charges and basically said that Bent County is to responsible for the warrant. They finally gave us the name of our accuser. Heather (Kim’s daughter) called up the sheriff this morning, she used to have a weekly show with him. He was unaware that I was not given a search warrant, and he reprimanded everyone who was involved in the search. He is releasing a formal apology to all media outlets to clear us and stating that we were falsely accused. He told us that they have officially distanced themselves from the Bent County case. We went down today to get our property back. Tandy Hasser is the main Bent County Sheriff department person who filed the whole thing.”

Not one to downplay my own indignant responses, I replied, “Holy Sh*t! I don’t know her personally, but I’ve known her through other friends for quite a while. I’ve heard nothing bad about her, but that doesn’t speak well for her as far as I’m concerned, because I know you well enough to know those charges should NEVER have been filed.
Who claimed you stole the stuff?”

Kim said, “Belinda Groner is the name in the search warrant. On the documentation, Tandy Hasser said that she looked me up through a mutual friend on Facebook. You should see the warrant! When we left the office today, a deputy said, “Hasser has little criminal training and is trying to make a name for herself.” But Jan, she accused us of lying and she smirked and treated us like sh*t.” Kim continued, “Belinda Groner, she said that she heard about the horse tack on swap shop on KLMR, the Prowers County Deputy said that her hired hand who came with Groner said that it wasn’t her stuff.”

Kim takes a breath and continues, “Hasser was really going to try and pin this all on us whether we were guilty or not. I could tell by her attitude, she just wanted to make a name for herself.”

“So, tell me about the accuser,” I ask.

“Belinda Groner, and Fritz Sturges (I remember seeing where Sturges owns the Clay Creek Ranch) made the accusation that we’d stolen their tack. Groner was mentioned in the warrant more often than Sturges.” Kim shifts to the warrant, “When we went to pick up our stuff and I had to ask for a copy of the search warrant. We were not given one at the time they searched our home, and the Prowers County Deputy gave us one.”

“So, Groner heard about the tack on KLMR and purchased it from you, then claimed you’d stolen it from her?” I clarified.

“Yes.” Kim spoke in a more serious tone, “I lost two days of work, plus the cost of the pictures we printed and the cd. And the embarrassment of all those cars showing up in front of our home, that woman, hell bent on pursuing criminal charges, even knowing that she’d provided false information to get the warrant, and then… it wasn’t even the local Sheriff’s office pushing the case, but Bent County. I don’t live in Bent County!”

The question that comes to mind is a rather simple one… WHY would Tandy Parrish-Hasser feel the need to search through my (Jan Verhoeff’s) Facebook pages to find information on a friend of mine, to pursue a case of theft, for a claimant who had no evidence? Granted, my Facebook page isn’t exactly set for maximum privacy, but seriously? SERIOUSLY? WHY is Tandy Parrish-Hasser so hell bent on pursuing criminal charges against fine, upstanding citizens of Prowers County? What’s in this case for Hasser?

Is it really so difficult to obtain a good name for yourself as a law enforcement officer that she would need to pursue illegal means of creating recognition?

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10 Responses to Falsely Accused

  1. Sherry Allen says:

    Yeah. Involved in an even bigger pile off BS in Otero County. We are going to seat a jury over a pair of prostitute pink high heels and a coat that was left in my corral. The “plea” offered is everything but jail and with the “victim” paying NOTHING and the county footing the bill to prosecute horrible criminals like me, (I consider anything left by a 19 yo in my goat corral for three months to be abandoned, not “left I my care”!) there is even a chance I could end up there. DESPITE the fact every single lawyer has laughed himself into a bellyache about the whole pile of stupidity, they all point out the individuals pushing this are in places of power and know very very well how to use those position. So . . . . . Beware females with badges. I’m sure there are some good ones, but most of what I’ve seen has been bullies with a vendetta.

  2. Matt says:

    So then can someone tell me why the city of Las Animas is paying Bent County for sloppy law enforcement with this also going on. Also can someone tell me why Sheriff Encinias has kept Tandy Hasser employed by BCSO?

  3. Penny Gonzales says:

    I have known Kim for years, she is a great person & I would never suspect her of stealing from anyone. I have also known Jan for years. I find it sad that good people have to go thru this.

  4. Riccie Monohan says:

    C’mon people, don’t you have better things to be doing with your own life than to be so “furious” at a VERY nice person for trying to do her job? I mean she doesn’t act alone, singling her out like that is disrespectful and immature. All this is doing is causing drama which you seem to be very fond of from reading this article. I agree maybe such harsh actions like a home search shouldn’t have happened immediately but if nothing illegal is going on, there should be no issues, right?

    Riccie Stwalley-Monohan

  5. david says:

    Seriously riccie she broke the law are 4th amendment is in question. Last I heard no man is above the law and no man below it…….not even if you are in law enforcement…… you let this go once they will continue to do it. You say its not a big deal but, this is exactly why are constitution is enforced. And why we have a constitution….it is a big deal and from her all the way to the judge who signed the warrant should all lose their jobs.

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  9. Belinda says:

    I recently learned of the what happened with the search warranty at the Piner’s. First and foremost, my name is Belinda Groner and I NEVER said the Piner’s stole my tack. We had reported the tack stolen and suspected a past employee had taken it. I did purchase some of the tack from Mr. Piner and I did ask the police to ask him who he had bought the tack from. I NEVER ONCE inferred the Piner’s had anything to do with stealing our tack. In fact, I had been trying to get Tandy Hasser to get a search warrant for a 4 Wheeler that we believed had hit one of our horses on the ranch and killed it. I found the 4 Wheeler wrecked and took a picture of it for the police. When the owners saw me take a picture of the 4 Wheeler they immediately loaded it into a trailer and took off. This happened in BACA county and the police said there was no one there to respond to my call. Tandy Hasser told me there was not enough evidence to get a warrant for the 4 Wheeler and to quit asking her about it. Supposedly she went to the DA and asked for a warrant, but was unable to get one. You can only imagine how shocked I was when she called and advised she had issued a search warrant for the Piner’s house, not the one with the wrecked 4 Wheeler. If Tandy Hasser would focus on the real criminals—the people who stole the tack and killed the horse—instead of innocent people everyone would be much better off.

    I have requested copies of the police reports and was told by Tandy Hasser they are part of an ongoing investigation and I am not allowed to have them……I did not know what was said until I read this blog.

    To the Piner’s I would like to again say that I NEVER accused them of stealing anything. I simply asked to see who they bought it from. I have bought a lot of used tack over the years and there is nothing wrong with that and there is no law against it.

  10. Kim Piner says:

    If Belinda would go to Prowers, I am sure they would give her a copy of the warrant. We would certainly provide a copy of the one we received, after our tack was returned and the apology was made to us. We have made several copies.

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