A convicted bank robber from a 2012 case says Key West police officers twice ordered him to strip naked during their investigation while laughing and jeering at his body.
In a lawsuit filed against the city, the police department and a pawn shop owner, Timothy Homrighausen also says he is owed $27,000 to replace the personal property they seized, including his car.
Homrighausen, 55, accuses several officers by name of unlawfully searching him and humiliating him during the arrest, but police spokeswoman Alyson Crean said officers never do strip searches of suspects.
“We don’t do that,” she said.
Homrighausen says he was taunted by his arresting officers on Oct. 17, 2012.
While at police headquarters, one officer “circled the plaintiff while ogling him up and down and making comment [sic] that brought laughs from officers on the other side of the room,” according to the suit assigned to U.S. Court Judge Jose Martinez.
Homrighausen is serving 70 months for robbing the Bank of America, 3200 Flagler Ave., two years ago. He used a bicycle to make his getaway and a Truman Avenue bar as his hideout.
His release date is June 29, 2015, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 21 in federal court with Homrighausen writing the 11-page claim by hand.
The city hasn’t had a chance yet to respond in court to the allegations.
Homrighausen has claimed before that the cash found on him after the bank robbery belonged to him, but the strip search allegations apparently are new.
Police have no record of Homrighausen filing any complaints. A look through court transcripts and motions filed in federal court doesn’t show that Homrighausen ever mentioned to the judge he had been forced to undress by officers.
At about 11 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2012, a man entered a bank which was empty of customers and handed the teller a note that read, “This is a robbery and not a joke,” according to a transcript of a court hearing held in January 2013.
Police nabbed Homrighausen within a couple of hours after the bank robbery in New Town, relying on the bank’s video surveillance, a teller’s identification, and a backpack filled with $4,198 that they say Homrighausen had with him at the bar.
“The teller was in fear for her safety when she handed over $5,356,” Detective Matthew Haley wrote in the affidavit for Homrighausen’s arrest.
While at Dons’ Place, according to Homrighausen, Officer David Smith confiscated his belongings, including his eyeglasses, a cell phone, his car and house keys, five rings, three bracelets, one watch and cash.
The first of two alleged strip searches took place in the men’s room of the bar. Smith escorted Homrighausen into the men’s room and ordered him to strip completely and made him stand “with his genitalia exposed in the center of the men’s room,” the lawsuit states.
While naked, “a female entered the men’s room and approached plaintiff,” the suit states. “David Smith responded to comments from [sic] female with laughter.”
Homrighausen says Haley was also in the men’s room and handed him a paper jumpsuit to wear.
Crean said that just didn’t happen.
“He went to jail in his own clothes,” she said.
The Dons’ Place arrest was the last time Homrighausen saw any of his possessions, and police issued no property receipts.
“The plaintiff has never been given the opportunity to claim any of his property that was taken by KWPD,” Homrighausen wrote.
As for the cash found on him, Homrighausen said prosecutors never could prove the money came from the bank. There was no marked money or “bait” money identified, he added.
Homrighausen was indicted for stealing $5,356 in the Key West bank robbery, and later was charged with a Dec. 2, 2011, bank robbery in Cocoa Beach in which more than $4,400 was taken.
After pleading guilty to both robberies on Feb. 3, 2013, Homrighausen was ordered to pay $4,472.69 in restitution as part of his sentence.