Douglas Hinton's alleged ATM thefts leads to raid of sister's home

(Photo: WJLA)

For Bowie resident Barbara Johnson, this year's Valentine's Day will be one she never forgets.

It will always be the one during which a SWAT team showed up at her home.

Only when Johnson was given a copy of a search warrant did she realize that her brother had fraudulently given her address to authorities after he was arrested in January in connection with a string of ATM thefts.

That provided little comfort to Johnson, a church secretary, as she sat while investigators combed through her home, taking an iPad, two desktop computers and a laptop her teenage daughter used for schoolwork.

"I had my home-based business, tax preparations on there," Johnson said. "I had the church directory on it."

The search warrant Johnson was given showed that her brother, Douglas Hinton, had given her address when arrested for his alleged role in a theft ring, which authorities say involved nearly 20 crimes and hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen.

Hinton was arrested last month after being found in possession of marijuana and tools police believe were used to crack ATMs, authorities say.

Johnson says she knows nothing about Hinton's alleged activities and that he actually lived in a house about a quarter-mile away from hers.

"We have no criminal background," she said. "We're just normal people."

Montgomery County Police are standing by the warrant, saying that the investigation is widespread. If the computers are clean, they say, she'll get them back.

"I'd like an apology from them and I'd like my personal property back," Johnson said.