Gainesville Police Raid Local Real Estate Office to Uncover “Trade Secrets”

Jason Hurst said he saw his life pass him by when a team of Gainesville police with rifles raided the real estate agency where he works earlier this month.

Hurst, a real estate agent for Colliers International, who owns Maple Street Biscuit Co. with his wife, said he has long been a strong supporter of the police department.

But he said he was still reeling from a June 2 raid on the Colliers International office at 107 SW 7th St., when 10 to 15 officers in full tactical gear and armed with what he believed to be Assault weapons converged on the building to execute a search warrant.

Hurst said that shortly after arriving at work and going upstairs, he heard a loud bang on the door. He said he heard people shouting “Police, let us in”. “

At first, he didn’t believe it.

“We thought it was a practical joke,” he said. “The next blow was louder. It almost rocked the building. They said, ‘It’s the police. Get out. We have a warrant.

Police investigate “trade secrets” case

According to the search warrant, signed May 27 by Circuit Court Judge David Kreider based on the testimony of Gainesville Police Detective Ronald Pinkston, the search stemmed from a “trade secret theft” case.

Among other things, the warrant authorized police to search Colliers’ office for recording devices, cell phones, computers, tablets, emails or texts showing trade secrets or items taken from Bosshardt Realty without permission.

The people named in the mandate – Lauren Edwards, Daniel Drotos, Rory Causseaux and Michael Ryals – are four former Bosshardt real estate salespeople who went to work for Colliers International, as well as Christian Oldenburg, Managing Director of Colliers International Northeast Florida.

Under state law, someone who steals a trade secret can be convicted of a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to up to $ 5,000.

Hurst said none of the three people who were in the office during the raid – himself, an intern and a colleague – had even been named in the warrant. And he has no idea why the police sent such a contingent on what is clearly a white collar affair.

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“There was a paddywagon in the middle of our driveway,” he said. “The officers were in full SWAT gear, shields, guns, everything. The streets were blocked off.

When he came down the stairs, he put his hands up and hoped he would survive.

“(An officer) was standing at the door with the assault rifle pointed at me, the door open,” said Hurst. “I literally thought I was going to die. My intern was actually right behind me. I actually dropped my hands to make sure they could see my hands.

Hurst said they were searched and detained for more than three hours, with their hands tied with zip ties, as officers cleaned electronic equipment and other items in the office.

Hurst said police took his laptop, watch and cell phone, none of which was returned.

“There will be a thorough examination”

Graham Glover, spokesperson for Gainesville Police Department, said he couldn’t say much about the case because it was an open criminal investigation.

“I can tell you that everything that was executed by the police department was approved by the state attorney’s office and signed by a judge,” he said. “The police do not arbitrarily issue search warrants. “

He added that several neighbors and community members have expressed concerns about the way the search warrant was executed.

“I assure you and the public that there will be a thorough review of this one,” he said. “As to the details of the search or the particular case, as this is an ongoing criminal investigation, I cannot comment further.”

Hurst said he was hesitant to complain about the raid to the police administration because he was a staunch supporter.

His restaurant hosted the police’s Coffee with a Cop program, he said.

“During last year’s pandemic, we delivered several free meals to the Gainesville Police Department,” he said. “I definitely support the police department. But they have to make some sort of adjustment (in warrant procedures). I don’t want anyone, let alone myself, to be on the wrong side of a bullet, this that could have happened here. “

He said it would have been a national controversy if he – an unarmed black man – had been accidentally killed in the raid.

“Can you imagine if this weapon would have exploded and I’m not in the warrant?” he said. “There has to be a level of care and due diligence in these matters, given the (political) climate. But just in general, as a human being, human rights. No one’s life should be at stake for trade secrets. “

Aaron Bosshardt, the owner of Bosshardt Realty Services, said he did not want to disclose details of the criminal case.

“The type of conduct these people (in the warrant) are accused of is not acceptable,” he said. “We have to let the justice system take its course. I don’t want to say anything that might prevent law enforcement from doing it.

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