Homeowner Livid After SWAT Team Blows Up His Entire Home in Pursuit of Shoplifter

A Colorado man accused police in Greenwood Village of being “paramilitary thugs” after they blew up his home while trying to catch a gun-toting shoplifter who had decided to hide out there. 


“There was one gunman with a handgun and they chose to turn this house into something that resembles Osama Bin Laden’s compound,” Leo Lech explained to KMGH.

Robert Jonathan Seacat, 33, had allegedly picked Lech’s home at random last Wednesday when he was on the run from police who suspected him of shoplifting. Seacat was said to have opened fire on officers as they tried to apprehend him.

Although a 9-year-old boy was inside the home when Seacat entered, negotiators were able to convince him to let the boy go. 

According to a SWAT spokesperson, officers were able to end the 20-hour standoff by using flash-bangs, chemical agents and a “breaching ram” to enter the home. 

Lech, however, said that it looked more like the home he had recently purchased for his son’s family to live in had been in a war zone. 

“There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here,” Lech pointed out. 

KMGH reported that nearly every room in the second floor of the home had holes blown into the walls. 

“When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield,” a neighbor told the station. 

“There are holes just like this one all through the back of the house too,” Lech added. “They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person. Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door.”

Lech speculated that the SWAT team could have limited damage to $10,000 by using appropriate force, instead of the $250,000 that he estimated it was going to take to rebuild the home. 

The homeowner said that he confronted the chief of the Greenwood Village Police Department, telling him, “In any civilized nation … this is the act of paramilitary thugs.”

But the chief shrugged off the criticism, he recalled.

Although insurance was expected to pay for most of the structural damage, he said that his son did not have a rental insurance policy to cover belongings. 

“There was an engagement ring in there that would have been John’s great-great grandmother’s. It survived two World Wars, OK, but it didn’t survive the American police paramilitary operation.”

Watch the video below from KMGH, broadcast June 6, 2015.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.