eating dirt, and loving it, in MD

Major Variola (ret) mv at
Fri Oct 18 14:11:24 PDT 2002

Elderly couple forced to ground at gunpoint because they're driving
white vans.  And neighbors had snitched.  Cause you know, they had
white vans.

Old woman tightly handcuffed, "eats dirt", then consents to vehicle *and
home search*.  Guess she likes the taste of degradation.  Dig in,
Shirley, you deserve it.
Rub it all over your face, baby.  Shiny black boots stomping a face are
so sexy, forever.,0,3903643.story?coll=bal%2Dpe%2Dasection

Look-alike vehicles trap grandparents
Moving from Md. to Del., couple in box truck, van snagged in sniper

                    By Stephen Kiehl
                    Sun Staff
                    Originally published October 18, 2002

                    Ray and Shirley Kirk, grandparents who moved
recently from Maryland
                    to Delaware, didn't think anything of it when they
loaded up their
                    belongings and hit the highway this week, heading to
their new antique
                    shop in Harrington, Del.

                    There was just one problem: Their vehicles are a
white box truck - an
                    Isuzu with small black lettering and a dent in the
rear bumper - and a
                    white Chevy Astro van.

                    What happened next, on a deserted country road in
Delaware Monday
                    afternoon, shows how far police are willing to go as
they hunt the serial
                    sniper and how no one - not even a pair of
antiques-loving grandparents
                    - is above suspicion.

                    Law enforcement officials say they have stopped
hundreds of white vans
                    and box trucks in recent weeks during the desperate
search for the killer.
                    It is a daunting task to pinpoint the gunman's
getaway vehicle - auto
                    manufacturers say tens of thousands of such vehicles
are in the
                    Washington region.

                    For Shirley Kirk and her husband, police zeal to
solve the case has
                    become all too apparent.

                    "The first thing I noticed was flashing lights
behind me," said Shirley Kirk,
                    56, who was driving the Astro van. "Police cars were
moving up on me
                    really fast."

                    She pulled to the side of the road to let the
officers pass, as did her
                    59-year-old husband in his box truck ahead of her.
Instead, the cruisers
                    pulled up behind the Kirks and officers jumped out
with their weapons
                    drawn. The officers yelled for the Kirks to put
their arms out the window
                    as they slowly advanced on their vehicles.

                    "Then they threw me down on the ground, my face in
the dirt, grabbed
                    my arms, put them behind my back and handcuffed me,"
Shirley Kirk
                    said. Her glasses flew from her face in the

                    "I ate Delaware dirt," the grandmother said in a
phone interview

                    "People were arriving like crazy," she said.
Delaware State Police and
                    FBI agents seemed to be coming from a nearby
cornfield, guns drawn.
                    They looked nervous, she said. They were sweating.

                    A spokesman for the Delaware State Police, Lt. Tim
                    confirmed yesterday that a couple owning a white box
truck and white
                    Astro van were stopped on Route 35 outside
Harrington, Del., about 3
                    p.m. Monday. It was a joint stop, Winstead said, by
the state police and
                    the FBI, prompted by calls from the couple's
vigilant neighbors.

                    The FBI has received more than 70,000 calls on its
sniper tip line,
                    yielding 12,375 credible leads. Many concern the
white box truck and
                    white vans that are the subject of sketches released
by police.

                    There are plenty to go around. Ford Motor Co. says
it has sold about
                    50,000 white Econoline vans in Maryland, Virginia
and the District since
                    1992. Chevrolet did not return a call yesterday
seeking the number of
                    Astro vans in the area.

                    FBI spokesman Barry Maddox said the agency would not
discuss the
                    Kirks' stop because of the continuing investigation
but added, "Normally
                    we don't stop vehicles unless we have a suspect
under surveillance."

                    Indeed, the Kirks said FBI agents told them they had
been under
                    surveillance for a week, after their neighbors had
reported them. But the
                    Kirks knew none of this as they ate dirt Monday

                    Shirley Kirk said that after she was handcuffed and
frisked on the
                    ground, she was led to a police cruiser, where she
watched police search
                    her van. She had given them permission. She knew
they would find only
                    glassware, fabric and power tools.

                    "I was trying to see what they were doing to my
husband," she said,
                    "because he has a bad heart and I was worried."

                    Finally, the officers - more than a dozen in all -
questioned her about
                    where she was going, where she was from (Montgomery
County, it turns
                    out) and where she had been for the past 10 days,
while the sniper was
                    terrorizing the Washington area.

                    Then they wanted to take her home and search her
house. She
                    consented. The search took almost two hours, she
said, and the officers
                    went through every room of her three-story
Italianate home and looked
                    under every bed.

                    Her husband remained at the side of the road.
Officers were waiting for
                    the crime lab van to show up and check his truck for
gunshot residue.

                    The whole ordeal took about four hours. But the
Kirks have no
                    complaints - though Shirley said she wished the
handcuffs weren't so

                    "I totally, totally understand," she said. "I am
extremely grateful to them
                    for doing what they do."

                    She's not angry at her neighbors, either, who have
continued to phone in
                    tips about the Kirks' movements to the FBI even
after the couple was

                    "I feel even better about choosing this town because
of my neighbors'
                    vigilance," she said of her new home in Frederica,
Del. - population 648.
                    "We're delighted to be here."

"It can't happen here" --Suzy Creamcheese goes to Bali

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