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Theft by government: Having broken no law, a Philadelphia husband and wife were evicted from their home and the house taken from them by the DA’s office, which stood to personally profit from the confiscation.
The nightmare began when police showed up at the house and arrested their 22-year-old son, Yianni, on drug charges — $40 worth of heroin. Authorities say he was selling drugs out of the home. The Sourvelises say they had no knowledge of any involvement their son might have had with drugs.
A month-and-a-half later police came back — this time to seize their house, forcing the Sourvelises and their children out on the street that day. Authorities came with the electric company in tow to turn off the power and even began locking the doors with screws, the Sourvelises say. Authorities won’t comment on the exact circumstances because of pending litigation regarding the case.
Police and prosecutors came armed with a lawsuit against the house itself. It was being forfeited and transferred to the custody of the Philadelphia District Attorney. Authorities said the house was tied to illegal drugs and therefore subject to civil forfeiture. In two years, nearly 500 families in Philadelphia had their homes or cars taken away by city officials, according to records from Pennsylvania’s attorney general.
This quote from later in the article is also key: “The very authorities taking the property appear to be profiting from it, according to Pennsylvania state records.”