Man Wants Cop Charged For Opening His Car Door While Investigating Car Break-ins

James Lewis said that O'Fallon police had no right to investigate whether he was a victim of a car break-in.

O’Fallon, MO – A Missouri man is pushing to have an O’Fallon police officer criminally charged for looking inside his snow-covered vehicle to make sure the resident wasn’t the victim of a car burglary.

The incident occurred in January, as the officer was tracking a set of footprints in the snow that appeared to belong to a suspect who was entering unlocked vehicles and stealing items from inside, resident James Lewis told KMOV.

“He followed the suspect’s footprints in the snow over various streets and he would open unlocked car doors to see if it appeared any thefts had occurred,” Fallon Interim Police Chief Gary George explained in an email. “If it appeared the vehicle’s interior had been disturbed or items stolen he would then contact the vehicle owner."

Lewis said he was getting ready for work, when his security system alerted him that someone was on his property.

"At first I didn't know who it was. I was getting ready to come out and confront him. Then I saw the patch and knew it was a police officer," he told KMOV.

The officer walked across Lewis’ yard, then briefly opened the driver’s side door of a snow-covered vehicle parked in the driveway.

The footage glitched, and the officer was gone when it resumed.

Lewis admitted that after the officer checked his vehicle, he came to the front door to speak to him, but Lewis didn’t bother to go to the door.

He said that the same officer and a lieutenant returned to his home on Wednesday to explain that the officer had been investigating the rash of vehicle break-ins.

"They said the reason why he did that was he was following the leads and the footprints in the snow and checking for vehicles that had been broken into,” Lewis said. “But there was no evidence of my vehicle being broke into.”

Lewis said the officer should be criminally charged for opening his car door.

“I would like to see the officer charged,” he told KMOV. “Because that’s technically breaking and entering. He went into my vehicle without a search warrant. He has no authorization, there was no evidence of a crime in my vehicle, I was not wanted for nothing.”

In an email, Chief George told a city alderman that he understood the homeowner's concern, but that the officer was trying to locate and notify victims.

"I believe the officer was doing his job and proactively tracking the suspect’s footprints in the snow,” the chief wrote. “At the same time, I do understand the homeowner’s concern when he observed our officer open his vehicle door on the Ring doorbell video."

O’Fallon Assistant Police Chief Major John Neske said that the officer did nothing wrong, and noted that “breaking and entering” isn’t even an actual offense, KMOV reported.

“We were called that morning for break-ins inside vehicles,” Maj. Neske reiterated. “The thieves were checking handles on the doors. If it was open, they were rummaging through and stealing items, and if it was locked, they went on to the next car.”

“So, [the officers] were walking, following [footprints], checking the doors,” he continued. “If they opened, they took a quick peek in, shut the door. Or if it looked rummaged through, they tried to contact the home owner then [moved on] to identify additional vehicles.”

Maj. Neske said that trespassing or burglary are the offenses most similar to the “breaking and entering” situation Lewis has mentioned, but that both would require proof of criminal intent.

“The officer did not commit a crime,” the major concluded. “There was no intent. The only intent of the officers that morning was to help the citizens of O’Fallon and catch somebody that was victimizing our citizens.”

“They decided to walk that neighborhood in zero-degree temperatures to try to find additional victims,” he added. “I applaud them.”

Lewis said he still wants to file charges against the officer, and that he has hired an attorney.

Comments (91)
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Iconnoclast
Iconnoclast

Hope he needs the cops one day

javaguy746
javaguy746

What was the homeowner hiding in his car that the LEO missed????

djaznh
djaznh

I don't agree with the officer being charged, but do agree with LEO NOT opening the car door without the owner's permission. IF foot prints showed someone entered the car, that could've been the owner.

The express
The express

I'm sure he will be at the next BML march.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Honestly, most of the stories I've read to today should be labeled "Idiots on Parade". This man must have something to hide or had been arrested at some point and hated the police. There's no other explanation for this type of response.

Blue4126
Blue4126

Moral of the story? Lock your frickn car door! Dumbass

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

How dare the officer investigate if Mr. Lewis was a victim of a crime!!!! I mean, is it a cop's job to investigate crimes, and potential crimes? Yes, yes it is.

I encourage Mr. Lewis to both hire an attorney and file criminal charges against the officer. Can we all point and laugh when the judge throws both cases out?

TFN
TFN

This guy's a douchebag 😡

Cindyh919
Cindyh919

Another whiner.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Clear 4th amendment violation.

Bcktheblu
Bcktheblu

What a waste of oxygen this POS is. He wants to sue so his lazy ass doesn't have to go to work😡😡😡

Grandmoi
Grandmoi

So why didn't the man answer his door since he knew it was a police officer? If he had a complaint, that would have been the time to voice it...but then he might have been expected to act like an adult.

tfort
tfort

Stay out of peoples property.

DaveZ
DaveZ

F’n snowflake! I wonder what would have happened if officer found suspect in the guys car? What would vehicle owner want done then? F’n idiot

NickyJ
NickyJ

If the police bother you so much. Why call them? You two bit four legged cockroach.

Marmeladov
Marmeladov

What a waste of skin... anything for a law suit, anything for a dollar.

Grog
Grog

Hope this idiot doesn't reproduce!

SaneGma
SaneGma

This guy has a screw loose, he's an idiot.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=390041665118887 Here is the video. where are the footprints? where is his uniform? seems like a good way to get shot in neighborhoods where people are armed.

GForce48
GForce48

Apparently the few remaining brain cells are fighting for survival in this clowns head!

No. 26-41
Truthdontlie
Truthdontlie

Sounds like this guy has a mental problem what kind of idiot gets mad when a cop is trying to help him. And the cop even came to the door the guy such an idiot he didn't answer the door. Now he's wants to blame cops LOL well he's an idiot and leaves his car door unlocked I hope they robbed him really good next time and I hope the cops don't even come

SRB6229
SRB6229

What an asshole. I hope someone steals his car tonight

Stanracer
Stanracer

This asshole obviously hates cops and has bought into the medias war on the police. Next thing we will see is he'll want to sue the officers and the police department. Make a quick buck. What a prick!

RPG156
RPG156

I wonder what James Lewis' arrest record and voter record looks like. And was there a Bernie or a Hillary sticker on his car?

Mic911
Mic911

What an asshat!! Be grateful the officer was looking and following up on the break ins, it is called doing their job!! Plus you didn't even answer the door when the officer approached, at which time you would have heard why he was in the area.