2 hackers are suing an Iowa sheriff for falsely arresting them, after the government hired them to break into a courthouse to test its security

The Dallas County Courthouse can be seen in Adel, Iowa, Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Associated Press/Charlie NeibergallIn 2019, the Iowa government contracted a cybersecurity company to test security in five Iowa courthouses.Two contractors set off an alarm at a courthouse and were later arrested by the sheriff.Sheriff Chad Leonard is being sued by the hackers for refusing to sign a letter authorizing their break-in.For more stories, visit Insider's homepage.Two hackers were hired by Iowa's judiciar branch to hack into courtshouses to test security measures. They are now suing the sheriff who arrested them for burglary. He is alleged to have ignored their "get out jail free" letter, and that they were wrongfully held.Coalfire's cybersecurity firm employed Justin Wynn and Gary DeMercurio in 2019. The company had signed a contract with the Iowa State Government to perform "cybersecurity tests activities including physical penetration on five buildings," according to the lawsuit filed July 30th in Iowa District Court.According to the lawsuit, the pair were responsible for carrying out "physical attacks" such as lockpicking on the Dallas County Courthouse on September 10, 2019. DeMercurio & Wynn entered the Dallas County Courthouse and set off an alarm. Sheriff's deputies arrived quickly and they quickly presented an Iowa government authorization letter to reassure them that they were indeed there.Even though the deputies phoned the Iowa Judicial Branch representative to confirm, they seemed content with the "get out jail free" letter. However, the lawsuit stated that "when [Sheriff Chad] Leonard arrived the situation changed."The lawsuit stated that Leonard refused to accept the letter and ordered his deputy to arrest DeMercurio, Wynn and others. The pair were eventually handcuffed and had their property taken. They were then held for 20 hours under a $50,000 bond and charged with third-degree theft and possessing burglar tools.These photos were taken by the Dallas County Jail and show Gary Demercurio (left) and Justin Wynn (right), after they were arrested in September 2019. Dallas County Jail via Associated PressAccording to the hackers' lawyer, they were used as'scapegoats.Continue the storyWynn and DeMercurio were later acquitted.Marty Diaz, their lawyer, said that the arrests had caused their clients to spend an uncomfortable night in jail.Diaz stated that his clients are still affected by the incident two-years later. He said they have missed out on possible job opportunities because Googling their names brings up news stories about their arrests, which are paired with their mugshots.Diaz said that Leonard had used his clients to make a fuss about the state government. Coalfire was hired for the job.Diaz stated that the sheriff's position was "that this is a county-owned building and therefore only the county could authorize the service." He argues that the state of Iowa operates the courthouse, and therefore had the right to authorize the break in."The sheriff didn’t know that." Diaz stated that the sheriff believed one thing. "Whether it was genuine, prideful or hubris that it was, that's something that will need to be ironed." He was not happy that the state could take over county property.Wynn and DeMercurio seek unspecified damages in the Wynn lawsuit "in an amount which will deter [Leonard], other similarly situated, and from such conducting of the future."Insider was not provided with any comment by the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, but they did tell the Des Moines Register that they "deny the claims made through the petition and are ready to defend themselves in court."Insider has the original article.