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Tioga Terror: Police Raid Home, Find Nothing

Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Judges from Broome and Tioga counties signed search warrants giving investigators permission to search the Dunlap residence “without giving notice of your authority and purpose.” BOB JOSEPH/WNBF NEWS

A town of Owego couple say no one’s apologized to them after police took them into custody and conducted a futile nighttime search for drugs and guns at their home

Steven and Cindy Dunlap say they no longer feel safe in their home since the events of February 11.

The Dunlaps discussed their experiences at the hands of police from Broome and Tioga counties on WNBF’s Binghamton Now program Friday.

They reluctantly agreed to describe their ordeal after friends encouraged them to do so.

Steven Dunlap says he was pulled over by police while he was on his way to meet some friends for pizza. He says they took him into custody at gunpoint.

A short time later, Cindy Dunlap received a call from one of her husband’s friends letting her know he hadn’t arrived.

Fearing Steve had been in a crash, Cindy rushed to retrace his likely route. Then she also was pulled over and taken into custody.

When police transported Cindy back to her home, they told her they had warrants to search the place. She pleaded with them not to use the battering ram they brought with them.

Investigators entered the couple’s home through the unlocked front door. They thoroughly search the house and its outbuildings.

The Dunlap family dog, Lily, remained inside, curling up in her tiny bed while police looked for evidence of illegal activity.

What they found were fabrics and equipment used in Cindy’s long-established quilting business.

Search warrants signed by Broome County and Tioga County judges less than 24 hours before the raid indicated investigators were looking for methamphetamine, crack cocaine and firearms, among other things.

After they didn’t find what they were looking for, police left. Steven, who had been held for hours at the Tioga County Public Safety Facility, was allowed to drive his truck home.

The Dunlaps say although two detectives paid a visit a week later, they offered no apology.

Steve and Cindy say since the raid, they no longer feel safe in their home.

LISTEN to their story from WNBF’s Binghamton Now program.

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