Besides watching footie, hashing is what I do most weekends. It's like cross-country/ trail running with beer at the end. While I think they lacked better judgment for throwing flour in an IKEA parking lot, the charges they face and the reactions of the law enforcement officials are a little over the top: Running club members face felony charges for hazmat scare at IKEA Eds: Dorothee is cq. By CARA RUBINSKY Associated Press Writer NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Daniel Salchow and his sister, Dorothee, planned to spend a pleasant afternoon marking a trail for fellow members of their offbeat running and drinking club. Instead, they wound up in police custody after their clue of choice -- flour -- set off a bioterrorism scare and forced hundreds to evacuate an IKEA furniture store Thursday. "It was absolutely not in any way what we intended and not what we anticipated," Salchow said Friday at the New Haven courthouse. Salchow, a New Haven ophthalmologist, and his sister, who is visiting from Hamburg, Germany, were charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony. The siblings are part of the Hash House Harriers, which bills itself as a "drinking club with a running problem" and has more than 1,800 chapters around the world. The runs typically end with beer stops at pubs or homes. The club started in Malaysia in the late 1930s, when British citizens modified an old game called hares and hounds. The Salchows said they have sprinkled flour everywhere from NewYork to California without incident. "We had done the exact same thing in Washington, D.C., as recently as two months ago," Dr. Salchow said. He and his wife, whom he met through the running group in New York, recently moved to New Haven, where he works with needy children through a Yale University program. The four-mile run on Thursday, the New Haven club's fourth, was also a birthday celebration for Salchow, who turned 36 on Friday. To make things interesting, he and Dorothee, 31, decided to route runners through the massive IKEA parking lot. They were the hares, meaning they marked the trail for others, the hounds, to follow. The idea is to use symbols to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks in the trail as challenges. Just before 5 p.m., police fielded a call that someone was sprinkling powder on the ground. The popular store was evacuated and remained closed the rest of the night. Salchow was at home waiting for the other runners to arrive for an after-party when his wife called to say there was a problem. He biked to IKEA and tried to explain to officers that the powder was just harmless flour. City officials weren't amused. The incident prompted a massive response from New Haven police and surrounding towns. Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows and will meet Monday to decide how much. She said they should not have used the flour if they knew it had caused scares in the past. "You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know," she said. "It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We're thankful it wasn't, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out." IKEA did not reopen until Friday morning. The shutdown came at a busy time -- just as college students begin returning for fall classes. The store would not provide an estimate of the cost of closing. Assistant manager Lynn Deffendall said employees offered to deliver furniture to some customers who had driven more than two hours. "We do know that unfortunately it was inconvenient for customers, but safety will always be number one for both our customers and the co-workers," she said. The offbeat club's tactics have caused problems elsewhere. In 2002, a trail of flour caused a mall in Fayetteville, N.C. to evacuate for two hours. A few months earlier, two runners in Oxford, Miss., were arrested after using small piles of white powder to mark a route through a busy downtown square. Salchow said in the wake of Sept. 11, hashers started using chalk to mark their courses. But as tensions eased, they went back to flour because it is biodegradable. He said they'll start using chalk again or find somewhere else to run. The Salchows were released on promises to appear in court. They're due back in court Sept. 14. "Not in my wildest dreams did I ever anticipate anything like that," he said.