Columnist Mike Leonard of the Bloomington Herald-Times reminisces about twenty-five years ago this Thanksgiving, when a lark of a protest became one of the biggest, strangest pieces of news to hit these here parts in a long time:
“It” began as a prank, really — the theft of a street sign in Odon, Ind [paywall $$].to protest the naming of a city street to honor John Poindexter, a man accused of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to Congress, defrauding the government and the alteration and destruction of evidence relative to the Iran-Contra Affair.
It moved on to become a manhunt for Breeden, a longtime Bloomington resident; a national scandal (They’re charging this guy with a felony for stealing a street sign?); a fabled five-day trial and, ultimately, a four-day jail sentence for a pastor and peace activist who purloined a street sign that cost an estimated $35.
Poindexter, against whom charges were dropped, later became the leader of Total Information Awareness, a short-lived program that began after Sept. 11.