The president of a bank that accidentally broke into an Ohio woman’s home and repossessed her belongings has responded to public outcry – and his story contradicts some of the details that have been reported so far.
First National Bank in Wellston, Ohio, doesn’t deny breaking into the wrong home. The bank doesn’t even deny wrongfully repossessing Katie Barnett’s belongings.
However, according to a statement released Thursday by bank president Anthony S. Thorne, Barnett’s claim that the bank hauled away roughly $18,000 worth of goods is inconsistent with their estimates.
“[W]e communicated to the homeowner our desire to compensate her fairly and equitably for her inconvenience and loss,” the statement reads.
“However, the written list of items that she provided to us – and the value she assigned to those items – is inconsistent with the list and descriptions of items removed that was prepared by the employees who did the work, and with the list and values of missing items provided by the homeowner herself as recorded in an earlier telephone conversation with one of our representatives,” it adds.
The statement explains that although the bank employees got the wrong home — thanks to a GPS mistake — overgrown grass and turned-off utilities led them to believe that it was indeed the correct house. The statement adds that employees found the house unlocked when they arrived.
Barnett, who had been away for a few weeks when the bank broke into her home, claims the most expensive items taken were two car engines and parts worth about $9,000.
She adds two dressers, some clothing, pool cleaning supplies, patio furniture, and various goods outside the home were taken by bank employees. Some of it was hauled away, some of it was trashed, and some of it was sold.
The bank told her that she “would probably need receipts for everything that they took and they were not paying retail,” she said.
“I told him I wasn’t running a yard sale and asking them to make me an offer. I told him I don’t keep receipts around for everything I have just in case a bank comes by and steals my stuff. And if I did, where do you think it would be? With the stuff that you threw away,” she added.
Still, Thorne accused the media of failing to get the bank’s side of the story.
“Nearly all of the news stories that you may have seen – regardless of whether on television or the internet – appear to have been taken directly from the local television report,” the statement reads.
“Other than CNN, no news media that has rebroadcast or reprinted this story has contacted us to get our side of the story or to verify the claims made on the local station,” it adds.
The statement goes on to say that it will continue to work to settle the issue with Barnett.
Here’s the bank’s full explanation:
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.