Cops Raid Elderly Couple's Home 50 Times Looking for Crooks

Law-abiding seniors stung as cops keep getting it wrong

By Tim Minton and Jennifer Millman
|  Thursday, Mar 18, 2010  |  Updated 1:53 PM EDT
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An elderly Brooklyn couple claims they're not criminals, but the NYPD sure makes it look that way.

Cops have raided the Marine Park home of Walter Martin and his wife, Rose, at least 50 times since 2002 looking for crooks, but each time – after a chorus of door pounding and calls of "Open up!" – they've found they got the wrong address, according to a report.

Police arrive from all over – from Staten Island precincts to the Bronx – and bang on the door of the Martins' two-story home searching for a different suspect -- from alleged murderers to robbers to rogue cops -- nearly every time, reports the Daily News

"I'm really worried," Rose Martin, 82, told the paper. "How could so many people get my address and how could cops be coming from so many different precincts?"

Even police don't understand why the couple's home continues to be a target.

"We're looking to see if suspects were using the address as part of an identity theft scam, or if there's a glitch in our computer system," NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne told NBC New York. "The police shouldn't be repeatedly going to their door."

Browne says the NYPD "thought the situation was addressed two years ago" after Walter and Rose Martin wrote a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly complaining about the problem.

Now Browne says "a note was placed in the computer yesterday" that should fix it.

The most recent misdirected search came Tuesday morning, when cops' banging awakened Walter Martin. Bleary from the sudden jolt from sleep, the 83-year-old World War II veteran felt his heart tense and got dizzy as he dressed.

"You're not the first," Walter Martin told the News he said to the shocked cops when he answered the door. "We've had police here 50 to 75 times looking for people … After they left, I felt funny."

Walter Martin says the officers are generally respectful once they learn of the mishap, but that the all too frequent impositions make his blood pressure soar.

Meanwhile, his wife fears for the health of both of them.

"I am fearful that if a no-knock warrant is issued with my address that my husband or I will end up having a heart attack," Rose Martin wrote in the letter to Kelly.

Police sources told the News that a criminal database search of the Martins' address turned out more than four dozen papers, including documented 911 calls, complaints and other police forms. A News computer search of the address found the names of 15 other people living at the residence, none of whom the Martins say they know.

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