Saturday, May 11, 2002

Fake uniforms found after arrest

Secret Service to see if Bush target

By Charley Gillespie
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Police found flight manuals, books on executive protection, ammunition and police uniforms inside the car of a man arrested on a charge of stalking.

        Secret Service agents interviewed Charles Thatcher, 55, of Peebles, in jail Wednesday night to determine if he was a threat to President Bush, according to police in suburban Worthington.

        President Bush was in Columbus on Friday to speak on welfare reform and to attend an election fund-raiser for Gov. Bob Taft.

        Kurt Douglass, an agent with the Secret Service office in Columbus, said he doesn't think Mr. Thatcher was targeting President Bush. But Mr. Douglass said empty gun boxes and a manual found in his car titled Introduction to Executive Protection got his attention.

        “There was nothing specific to Columbus or Bush's visit, but that doesn't mean our investigation is over,” Mr. Douglass said Friday.

        “We want a little more background on him to determine why he had these materials, why he had the generic police uniform and where the weapons are that were in the boxes.”

        Mr. Thatcher was being held in the Franklin County Jail on $50,000 bond.

        Mr. Thatcher was arrested Wednesday after police said they traced harassing phone calls made to the Masons' grand lodge in Columbus from Mr. Thatcher's motel room.

        Worthington Police Sgt. Jim Mosic said Mr. Thatcher was arrested on charges of aggravated menacing by stalking and telephone harassment. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.

        In Mr. Thatcher's car, police found flight training manuals for commercial and private pilots, ammunition loaded into magazines and empty gun boxes, but no weapons, Sgt. Mosic said. They also found books on emergency airport disaster plans, microbiology and ATF security operations, and hats embroidered with CIA and NSA insignia.

        Sgt. Mosic said they found police pants and shirts but without police patches.

        “It looked like he ordered the uniforms from the same company where we get our uniforms,” Sgt. Mosic said.

        He said he alerted the Secret Service after finding the items.

        Sgt. Mosic said Mr. Thatcher, a former Mason, apparently had a dispute with the lodge.


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