If it was a laptop it is real easy to remove the HD. A couple turns of small screwdriver. However the hammer or screwdriver comment is weird. If you can’t tell the difference between the flat round dent of a hammer and the sharp jab of a screwdriver you shouldn’t be a detective.
The strange thing is that the police had the computer, and thought they’d find data.
But if the hd was removed, that is almost certain to be obvious at the first glance, laptop, desktop or tower.