Miami Heat guard Ray Allen and his wife are angry at how police and media reports have characterized what happened at their Coral Gables home early Thursday, when seven 18- and 19-year-olds walked uninvited into their house.
In response, the Coral Gables Police Department said it is again discussing the case with the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office and will work with the Allen family “regarding the filing of criminal charges.”
“A serious crime was committed under Florida law,” said Gregory Victor, the Allens’ attorney. “A large number of young adults knowingly broke into Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s locked home on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 2:30 a.m. and absolutely terrified their family. The crime was not only egregious, but the police characterization of this as a silly prank is completely inappropriate. Every family deserves privacy and to feel safe in their own home.”
“The suggestion that anyone can unlawfully enter into someone’s locked home and then into an occupied bedroom in the middle of the night without consequences is unsettling, regardless of the stated or actual reason for such unlawful entry,” said a statement by Allen’s family.
“We are very fortunate that no one involved was physically harmed during this ordeal. Miami is our home and we are proud to be active members in this community. We pray that no one else has to endure this kind of intrusion on their home or their families’ safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes.”
Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said police did not charge the teenagers with burglary because there was no forced entry, no intent and nothing was taken.
However, under Florida Statute 810.07, “proof of entering of . . . a structure or conveyance at any time stealthily and without consent of the owner or occupant is . . . evidence” of entering with “intent to commit a crime.”
The teenagers, who had been attending a party next door, told police they were curious to see Allen’s home and didn’t believe anyone was inside.
“It’s an ongoing investigation, and we are working with the Allen family and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office to levy criminal charges of trespassing against the seven individuals that entered the home illegally,” Denham told the Miami Herald on Sunday.
Denham said the department’s “hands were tied with the law.”
“The Coral Gables Police Department stands with the Allen family that no one should enter a home without the permission of a homeowner without consequences,” she said. “We went out to investigate an occupied burglary. Through our investigation we realized the only element of a crime we had was a charge of trespassing.”
Earlier, Gables police said in a statement, “Although the individuals had entered the residence, there was no proof that they had the intent to commit any crimes inside. The Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office advised the detectives that no arrests should be made at that time, in that the elements of a burglary had not been met [and] that the appropriate charge in this case was the crime of trespass in an occupied structure, a misdemeanor.”
So why weren’t the teenagers charged with trespassing?
“Law enforcement officers are not permitted by Florida law to make an arrest for a trespass of this nature unless the crime occurs in their presence,” the statement said.
Friday night, Allen’s family released a statement, saying, “We want to correct the erroneous information being reported about the crime committed in our home this week. On Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m., my wife Shannon was awakened by loud voices in our bedroom where she had been sleeping with our four young children.
“She heard male voices loudly discussing our personal property and sat up in a state of alarm to find at least five people inside our bedroom with large flashlights. She was immediately fearful for the safety of her own life, but more importantly the lives of our young children. When she screamed at them, the intruders quickly fled the scene and laughter was heard as they made their way out of our bedroom, down the stairs and out of our house.
“As these individuals were fleeing our house, Shannon immediately called security and the police for help. Shannon and I believe that a number of the public statements made through media outlets have mischaracterized certain important facts and what we believe to be the seriousness of this potentially devastating invasion upon our lives, home and family,” Allen said.
Said Victor, the Allens’ attorney: “This violation of the Allen family was offensive. The reported intentions of these perpetrators as being simply voyeuristic in nature does not justify their conduct nor excuse them from the reasonable consequences of their reprehensible actions. We plan to meet with authorities promptly in order to seek the appropriate intervention of the criminal justice system and discuss the specific actions to be taken so that such unlawful conduct is not ignored and tolerated.”
Allen, who played the past two seasons for the Heat, is a free agent and hasn’t decided whether to play next season. Allen reportedly is considering overtures from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he would reunite with friend and former teammate LeBron James.
Miami Herald staff writer Carli Teproff contributed to this report.