The owners of an Orem private investigations business have filed a $3 million suit in U.S. District Court claiming their files and other material were seized without good cause by Orem and Utah County officers.
Phillip E. and Cheryl Susanne Naugle, owners of Search Investigation Inc., claim officers have refused to return some of the records critical to continuing their business.Attached to the suit are an affidavit used to obtain the search warrant under which the material was seized and a transcript of questions put by Judge Lynn Davis of 4th Circuit Court to the officer requesting the warrant.
These documents claim an unnamed former employee of the business told of photographing a couple in a motel room as part of the private investigators' surveillance, and tell of an alleged kidnapping of Arizona children apparently in a custody dispute.
An officer examined the Naugles' garbage and discovered a document with a Utah County constable emblem and information identifying it as from the Search Investigations Division, the affidavits say. This gave the impression it was an official document, according to the officer.
But the officer said the former constable under whom Naugle once worked told him Naugle resigned in 1984 and had no authority to possess or use letterhead showing Naugle as a chief deputy constable under him.
The suit claims the search warrant was "patently overbroad and void on its face for the reason that no probable cause whatsoever is offered in the affidavits to show that binoculars, radios, telephone hardware and records, computer software, computer hardware, videotapes or video equipment . . . were used in, or constitute evidence of, any crime."
Also, the parts concerning unlawful use of a Utah County constable letterhead provides no probable cause to seize any insignia, it adds.
"The information provided for virtually all of the alleged crimes was too stale to be credited as probable cause," the suit charges.
"The information regarding the allegedly illegal surveillance was 14 months old and the information regarding the alleged kidnapping was 4 years old."
On the morning of Feb. 2, Naugle was driving near his home when he was stopped by two Orem City police cars and several unmarked vehicles, the suit says. The officers allowed him to drive home, a mile and a half away, accompanied by Orem officer Doug Edwards.
"Upon reaching his home, plaintiff P. Naugle observed that his property and home were completely surrounded by police officers in camouflage uniforms. The officers wore stocking masks that covered their faces and carried assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols."
The suit says Mrs. Naugle was being interrogated by Utah County Deputy Owen Quarnberg. She asked for permission to check on her children, it says, and was "allowed to do so only while accompanied by guards with assault rifles."