Friday, November 26, 2010

1971 Billboard Destruction

In 1971, The Fowlerville Review was still being published locally but within a couple of years, the paper would be taken over by the Livingston Press and Argus and a section in that paper would be called The Review. At this point, the paper was published and edited by Richard Rudnicki. The following article highlighted the Fowlerville police department and related their quick action.

Two “Hick Town” cops showed six “Big City” slickers that small town police are up with the times~~As a result of a quick and thorough investigation, six teenagers, all members of prominent Ann Arbor families, were arrested early Saturday morning and arraigned in Livingston County District Court on the charge of malicious damage of property. The charge involved the cutting down of advertising billboards on I-96 between Howell and Fowlerville.

Sgt. James Martin and Patrolman Ken Wright were making routine rounds of the area Saturday morning, when they noticed a car parked behind the Nickerson Farms Restaurant at I-96 and North Fowlerville Road.

Checking the vehicle, they found keys in the ignition and the trunk open. Inside the car, the men found three wallets on the seat and two on the floor. After checking identification in the wallets, they radioed the sheriff department to see if the car was stolen, then locked the vehicle and continued with their rounds.

While patrolling the business district, Sgt. Martin and Patrolman Wright noticed four boys standing in front of Bob Smith Ford. They stopped to talk with the subjects and determined they were connected with the unattended car. After further questioning at the police station, the four told police they had just cut down three advertising signs along I-96 at Layton Road.

The boys were taken to the car, where a broken crosscut saw and a hatchet were found in the trunk. One of the suspects took Patrolman Wright to a spot in the woods where two saws and an axe were hidden.

Also found were duplicate maps of Washtenaw, Monroe, and Jackson county roads and schedules for rendezvous in the Ann Arbor area. The schedules included watching for police in a “rest area,” removing the phone, taking out lights, radioing “choppers” and what to do if the discovery of the phone disorder should lead to discovery.

The four boys were placed under arrest and taken to the county hail – within an hour the fifth boy was arrested. Howell Police apprehended the sixth subject, after the boy reached Howell, and called his father to come pick him up. The father was unable to find the location where his son was waiting, and stopped a Howell policeman to ask directions. He was sent to the sheriff department to ask for information, and while the father was talking to the deputy, a Howell patrol car was dispatched to pick up the boy and bring him in for questioning.

The six were arraigned Saturday morning in front of District Judge Hensick with bond set at $100 each. A hearing was held Monday morning at which time each boy entered a plea of innocent. Bond was continued and the boys released. A trial date has not been set.

The six teenagers, represented by Ann Arbor Attorney Peter Davis, were Stanley Pollack, George Scott, Russell Balch, Brandon Parker, and George Gibson, all 17; and 18-year old David Field.

Max Lorencen, the President of Central Advertising in Lansing, and spokesman for the Outdoor Advertising Association of Michigan, congratulated the Fowlerville Police on the arrest. “I think they are excellent and need a tip of the hat,” he said. Lorencen spoke on the legality of the signs, stating that the state had come through last year and cut down the signs that were supposedly illegal. He noted that according to Act 333 of 1965, a control zone of 660 feet from the highway had been established, and that some of the newly-cut signs were on private property.

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