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Swarm of Police Raid ‘Your Basic Dorky Family’ by Mistake

May 3, 1996

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Police broke down Patty and Paul Mueller’s door hoping to find a large cache of machine guns and other firearms.

Instead, the Muellers say, authorities found a typical suburban family with two kids, a dog and not so much as a BB gun.

``We’re your basic dorky family who goes to soccer games and hangs out with their kids,″ Mrs. Mueller said Thursday.

The mistake happened Tuesday night when a dozen heavily armed officers swarmed over the Muellers’ home about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis, held the couple at gunpoint and even threatened to shoot their dog. Their children, ages 6 and 2, were asleep.

The officers, who had a search warrant, were acting on a tip from an informant who said he had bought and sold weapons with people living in the house, said Daniel Hoggatt, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. After finding no illegal weapons, they left after about 45 minutes.

Hoggatt said the Muellers were owed an apology. ``No one should have to worry about having a search warrant served on them in their own home when they haven’t done anything wrong,″ Hoggatt said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no one had apologized, the Muellers said.

St. Charles County officials say the informant has been charged with providing false statements to police officers, a misdemeanor, and the county will help the Muellers clean their muddy carpets and repair any damage.

``We don’t want to be bad government, here,″ said county counselor Joann Leykam LeyKam.

She also said the officers did their jobs properly under the circumstances and that the Muellers were victimized by the informant.

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