Originally created 01/17/04

Odds and Ends

HARLEYVILLE, S.C. -- Harleyville is cashing in on the commodity of its town limit signs.

The town is now peddling the signs that were once stolen at least twice a year, presumably by fans of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Harleyville started selling the green-and-white signs six months ago and more than 700 have been bought for $20 each, netting the town $5,600 after suppliers' costs were paid. It costs an additional $5 for shipping.

The signs, which apparently have a prestige among some cyclists, had been disappearing from their posts, prompting the police chief to plead with people not to steal them.

But since the town put a price tag on the signs, at least one thief has paid for his stolen sign.

"I have a Harleyville sign in my garage that I 'happened upon' about fifteen years ago," the handwritten note from Alliance, Neb., said. "I'm enclosing my check (actually a money order) for twenty dollars. ... Now I'll consider it mine."

The manila envelope had a return address of "Just Me," and included a newspaper clipping and photograph of the garage where the sign hangs.

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- A man was arrested for robbing a bank after he returned to take down the note demanding money he had left taped to a drive-through window.

Police say a man walked up to the drive-through at Community Bank Wednesday and taped a note to the window saying an explosive device would be detonated if tellers did not give him cash.

Bank employees handed over $21,066, said Parkersburg Police Chief Robert Newell. The man then fled in a green vehicle with a cardboard sign reading "lost tag" over the license plate and duct tape over the make of the vehicle.

The man drove to a nearby bowling alley, changed clothes in his car, then walked back to the bank to retrieve the note. He stuffed it in his pocket.

A police officer saw him take the note down and told him to stop. The man was captured as he tried to get into his car. Police found a brown bag full of money in the car, along with clothing matching the description of what the robber was wearing.

Eugene D. Golden, 36, was charged with nonaggravated robbery. He was being held Thursday on $50,000 bail.

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A man going through a courthouse metal detector emptied his pockets, tossing a small bag of marijuana into the security tray.

When Clyde Lamar Pace II realized what he had done, he tried to flee. But he ran the wrong way from Polk County deputies into a locked revolving door.

"He threw in a baggie of marijuana without realizing it, and the person working the security post said, 'Hey, what is this?"' said Chief Deputy Bill Vaughn. "He kind of gave that old I've-been-caught look, and the chase was on."

Pace, 18, first tried to retrace his steps, then ran through the building before he was stopped by deputies at the locked door.

Pace was arrested for drug possession and resisting arrest. The arrest caused him to miss a scheduled hearing on drug and driving charges filed after a traffic stop last month.

* * * *

PORT SALERNO, Fla. -- As many as a thousand sharks and fish were found dead when federal officials pulled a large abandoned fishing net from the ocean.

Two divers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, accompanied by state officers and two commercial fishing vessels, pulled the 500-yard "ghost net" from nearly 80 feet of water.

A loggerhead sea turtle also was found dead in the net Thursday.

"We have an investigation under way (in) reference to that ghost net," said Jeff Radonski, a special agent with NOAA's fisheries enforcement division in Miami. "It's a crime scene just like anywhere else. We pick up clues and leads from that."

The net, made of thick fabric lines to catch coastal sharks, was first spotted a week ago off the coast of St. Lucie Inlet.

The "sheer weight of all the animals" kept the Coast Guard from retrieving the net last week, divers said.

"It was pretty gruesome," diver Nick Chrobak said.

The mid-sized turtle, bloated and dead for days, was measured and documented by biologists from the Florida Marine Research Institute and later taken to a laboratory to be preserved as evidence.


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