First, I don't believe police involve themselves in civil matters, which this seems to be.
Second, banks themselves don't clear out houses. It's not like the tellers roll up their sleeves after lunch and start stuffing hefty bags... banks will hire a contracting service, which will then hire vendors or other contractors to do the work. therein lies the main snafu- there are several people translating orders down a chain of command and addresses often are screwed up.
Having done this type of work for a year, I've had my share of wrong addresses. And because the banks put us under a very tight deadline, and because we usually have several houses to handle each day, errors are unavoidable. None of the guys I know doing REO work want to deal with tenants or occupants, much less deal with personal possessions. But being on the end of the shit chain, we are the ones who catch most of the flack for this work- which doesn't pay a lot, isn't what we want to be doing for a living, and costs us a fortune in insurance expenses. It would be great if we weren't further victimized by blogs and news reports as bumbling and incompetent, though. A quick look at a google map of Wellston shows a very small town, which likely means the team headed to the house were from a ways away and not familiar with the area. That we are characterized as not being able to use GPS- seriously, my truck has a new $1000 GPS-integrated head unit in it and the garmin software still sends me on wild goose chases, especially in rural areas like this.
One other point- almost never is a team sent to an address to clear it out without a tedious bidding process taking place first. We go to a site, enter the house, document everything in the house with digital cameras and notes because we'll have to separate personals from household trash from metals, etc. We bid the job, and when we receive the order to execute it, our bosses have sent those pics and bids back up the chain of command.
Working in Florida, the state with the highest number of foreclosures, I've handled these types of jobs thousands of times. 90% of the work orders we receive have some type of error. When human judgment comes into play and human error has occurred, this type of thing happens. It sucks, and I would be absolutely pissed to come home to an empty house. While not trying to defend banks, I will say that I've never seen this type of work done without a lot of pre-order diligence such as letters to the residence, notes on doors, etc. Far too often when I do come across a befuddled and angry resident, 99% have received some correspondence that they typically ignored.