"Terrorists" hit IKEA in New Haven, CT

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by terrinh73, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. terrinh73

    terrinh73 Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    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.
    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.
  2. Team_of_McBrides

    Team_of_McBrides New Member

    May 28, 2007
    Interesting drinking club with a running problem. A bit baffled with the response by police and city officials.

    Best of luck to Dorothee and Daniel.
  3. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Thanks for the post, Terri. Had this club existed when I was young and foolish, I might have actually taken up running [when a ball wasn't involved].

    I'm not the least bit surprised at the "terrorist thing" though. In the early 80s when I was living near our nation's capital, I spent almost every weekend Volksmarsching in the MD/DC/VA/DE/PA area. In all these areas woods and neighborhoods would host 10k & 20k treks. These would involve cryptic signs, flour arrows, and unsupervised adults walking in areas in which "they didn't belong." Surprisingly, nobody ever called the police on us.

    Why? Well, the Administration at the time did not feel it had a vested interest in scaring the crap out of us 24/7.
  4. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Re: RE: "Terrorists" hit IKEA in New Haven, CT

    Bookmarking this...

    "What did they know... when did they know it.. why didnt they STOP IT!!!"
  5. terrinh73

    terrinh73 Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    HD- we have folks from 7 to 77 in our group (seriously)! If you have the slightest athletic ability, you can do a hash! I know there are a few in TX :).

    The DC Hash House Harriers have set up a defense fund for the Salchows. If you would like to contribute, send me a private message and I will pass along the information.

    I believe the charges will be dropped; however, I think IKEA may ask for lost revenue.

    Here's some more information:

    Send an email to the mayor of New Haven, John DeStefano Jr.:

    Press release regarding the incident in which they refer to the "Hash Horse Harriers."


  6. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Ummm ... That link Proving that the mayor isnt exactly sympathetic...

    : to trick into believing or accepting or doing something
    : play upon the credulity of ...so as to bring about belief in or acceptance
    of what is actually false and often preposterous
    : take in

    naughty, naughty!

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