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Police intercept online threat, raid wrong house

A teen is watching Food Network at home, when a SWAT team bursts down her door and spoils her digestion. It seems her wi-fi may have been purloined by someone offering online threats.

2 min read
It's a good thing Milan wasn't eating one of those at the time of the raid. Food Network Screenshot: Chris Matysczyk/CNET

The occasional program on the Food Network can be quite frightening.

There's "Outrageous Food", for example, where you can watch people build a 105-pound burger in Clinton, N.J.

However, please place yourself inside the stomach of 18-year-old Stephanie Milan as she sat at home watching the Food Network and was overtaken by a harsh queasiness.

For her door was broken down and in walked a SWAT team, which was not in the mood to make her a burrito.

The Evansville Courier-Press offers that the ingredients of this raid were somewhat confused.

The SWAT team was looking for computer equipment, which, if you're a SWAT team, you tend to search by breaking doors down.

This computer equipment, police believed, had been used to post threats (including references to explosives) against the police and members of police officer's families, via Topix.com.

This computer, police believed, was at the Milan family's Evansville, Ill., house.

Actually, what the police believed was that the threats had been posted using Milan's Wi-Fi. Hence the draconian manner of entry.

Milan insists that no member of her family has ever been involved in nefarious behavior. Police hinted that this may not entirely be the case.

However, local police Chief Billy Bolin said the police had no way of knowing if Milan's Wi-Fi had been appropriated by persons unknown.

So his officers banged on the outside wall, said "police, search warrant" three times and then smashed the door down. No, the procedure doesn't require them to wait for a reply. The Food Network can be absorbing, after all.

Sgt. Jason Cullum, a police department spokesman, told the Courier-Press: "This may be just somebody who was online just talking stupid. What I would suggest to anybody who visits websites like that is that their comments can be taken literally."

The police, though, claim they now know who the miscreants might be and have agreed to repair the front door. A grenade they tossed inside seems to have caused a little carpet-staining, too.

The police are still in possession of Stephanie Milan's computer, and one can only hope that the case is resolved soon. One wonders, though, what would have happened had Milan been watching "Law and Order," rather than the Food Network.