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.
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?
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?