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FG couple files tort claim against Hillsboro police


Adam Horstman released five days after July 4 arrest on robbery charges

A Forest Grove man and his wife have filed a tort claim against the city of Hillsboro for damages they claim occurred during a warrantless search of their home on July 4.

Adam Horstman and Christle Cunningham-Horstman contend in their claim that “Adam Horstman was arrested by members of the Hillsboro Police Department (HPD) without probable cause.” Horstman was held in the Washington County Jail until charges were dismissed five days later.

Lt. Mike Rouches, spokesman for HPD, confirmed last week that detectives arrested Horstman and later released him from custody. “The DA dropped the charges,” he said.

According to court records, Horstman was arrested on one count of robbery in the first degree, one count of robbery in the second degree and two counts of robbery in the third degree. The charges stem from four different incidents at two Albertsons stores in Hillsboro, an Albertsons in Beaverton (for which another person has since been charged) and a Rite Aid in Hillsboro.

Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Ambien were stolen in those robberies.

Still photos of the suspect from surveillance video were released to police and Horstman was arrested following his identification by a Rite Aid pharmacist. The pharmacist believed he recognized Horstman, who was wearing a work shirt from Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District — the same type of shirt as the robber.

On July 4, police searched the Horstman home and seized several personal items, including clothing, work shoes and Adam Horstman’s cell phone.

On that day, the family was preparing for a trip to the coast, accompanied by daughter Kristin’s 16-year-old boyfriend, Cole Pawlowski. The Horstmans claim that Adam gave police permission to search, but that Christle refused to allow the search.

Officers ordered the family members and their young guest to leave the home. According to the claim, when Pawlowski tried remove his cell phone from the couch, “an officer pulled out his pistol, pointed it at the child’s head, and ordered him to stop.” In addition, the Horstmans were not permitted to change clothing or to take their vehicle. When police also demanded a search of Christle’s purse, she objected.

During the search of the home, light fixtures were damaged, contents of drawers were thrown to the floor, trash cans were emptied onto floors and a filing cabinet was broken. Christle claims police lied to her, saying Sgt. Ted Schrader told her he had a warrant, but when asked to produce it, he changed his story and said he could get one. He damaged the back door of the home while forcing his way into the residence, the Horstmans claim.

The robberies in question occurred May 18, June 3, June 18 and June 30.

Adam Horstman provided alibi evidence and the charges against him were dropped July 9. His personal belongings were not, at that time, returned to him by the police department. Along with the tort claim, a motion was filed to get the personal items back, and according to Jesse Merrithew of Levi, Merrithew, Horst LLP — attorney for the Horstman’s — the items were subsequently returned.

The Hillsboro Tribune filed a request for the police report, but access to the report was denied by the Washington County District Attorney’s office. The case is listed in the county court system as “closed.”