“I’m not sure what time it all started, but I was called out at 7:30 (p.m.) to try to negotiate,” said Capt. Don Hass, head of the McAlester Police Department’s Special Weapons And Tactics team. “No one was hurt, and that’s the most important thing.”

“It” was an incident that eventually led to the SWAT team’s being called out, a McAlester man’s arrest by police and the man’s three young daughters being taken into Department of Human Services custody.

Police officer Jason Crittendon was on a routine patrol Tuesday evening when he got a call about someone stealing utilities from a home on East Jefferson Avenue.

When Crittendon arrived, he learned that the home owners had the electricity turned on in the unoccupied house so they could clean it up.

But someone else apparently wanted electricity as well, since extension cords were run from inside that house to a house next door.

Crittendon knocked on the door of the house to which the cords were run, but as soon as he identified himself as a police officer the house went silent, Hass said, adding “We didn’t know what we had at that point.

“We were called out because they barricaded themselves inside the house.”

While Hass was trying to negotiate with the person or persons in the house, Crittendon was working to get a search warrant on the home.

When Associate District Judge James Bland authorized the search warrant, Police Chief Jim Lyles authorized the SWAT team to go in.

“We have a SWAT team trained in making entries for barricaded suspects,” Hass said. “That’s what they’re trained for.”

Police broke into the house and found 26-year-old Samuel Lee Martin and his three young daughters hiding in a bedroom closet.

Martin was arrested for second-degree burglary and theft of utilities and taken to the Pittsburg County Jail. The girls, aged 6, 5 and 2, were taken into DHS custody, according to a police report.

The family had been living without electricity since September, Hass said, adding “It’s really kind of sad.”

Still, he said, “Everything went well and no one was hurt. That’s the most important thing.”

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