HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Break-In 'Mistake' By Cops Enrages Family
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jul 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Cherri Greeno, Record Staff
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


CAMBRIDGE -- Fung Han Ng was just sitting down to eat breakfast yesterday 
morning when she heard a loud bang at her door.

By the time she looked up, the dark wooden front door had been forced open 
and uniformed men were rushing at her.

"They yelled 'Police' and then they were all in here," the woman said as 
she sat in the kitchen of her Cambridge home yesterday afternoon.

Close to 10 police officers -- some uniformed, some not -- started 
rummaging through her two-storey home. Some went upstairs, others to the 

Then an officer took her hands and put them behind her back. "They said, 
'You are under arrest,' " Ng recalled with a shaky voice. "I said, 'What 
for?' and they said, 'For theft of hydro.' "

Ng couldn't believe it. During the 10 years she and her family have lived 
on quiet Hilborn Avenue in east Galt, they never once broke the law.

But there was little this woman could do as she watched strangers search 
her home. They were looking for any sign of a marijuana-growing operation, 
but they didn't find one.

Ng said one officer even went into the room where her 89-year-old mother 
was changing.

"They wouldn't let her finish dressing," Ng said. "And they searched her."

In the kitchen, Ng said officers sat her down at the table and explained 
that readings from her hydro meter did not match her hydro bills. A hydro 
official later told her that her latest bill had gone up $120, Ng said.

When officers were finished searching the home, Ng said, they all came into 
the kitchen and shook their heads.

"I'm scared. I'm mad. And now we are frustrated," Ng said, as she and her 
husband, Shiu, scanned the yellow pages trying to find someone to fix their 

She doesn't know what police used to break it in, but pieces of wood were 
scattered along the entryway.

The door couldn't be closed and so they were frantically trying to find 
someone to fix it before nightfall.

"This is an accusation clearly," said Shiu Ng, who rushed home from his 
Hamilton workplace after receiving a frantic call from his wife yesterday. 
"How can you jump to that conclusion?" he asked of officers believing a 
marijuana-grow operation could be in his home.

"It's a violation."

Staff Sgt. Brent Thomlison, spokesman for Waterloo regional police, said 
officers in the drug unit "received information and as a result of that 
information" a search warrant was issued.

Although the warrant was issued for theft of hydro, not drugs, Thomlison 
said officers expected to find a marijuana-growing operation.

"There was none," Thomlison admitted. "A mistake was made."

Officers met with the couple yesterday afternoon, apologized and offered to 
pay the repair cost for the door.

"We certainly do everything we can to avoid a situation like this," 
Thomlison said. "But mistakes happen. It's something that's not common, but 
it does happen from time to time."

Barb Shortreed, communications officer with Cambridge and North Dumfries 
Hydro, said they were not the "initiators" in this case.

She said hydro officials are usually contacted by police and asked to 
assist in locating potentially dangerous power diversions.

Citing customer confidentiality, Shortreed could not say if there was a 
discrepancy between the Ngs' meter and their bill. However, she did say 
that during the search of the home, investigators were "not able to clearly 
identify . . . an obvious power diversion."

After the couple fix their door, the bill will be sent to Waterloo regional 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom