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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


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Crime does pay, at least at sheriff’s auction

By Barry Schrader.................................November 1, 2011

The old saying “Crime doesn’t pay” was not so true on a recent Saturday in Sycamore as the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies auctioned off thousands of dollars in stolen property, mainly from a theft ring that had been broken up in 2008 near Leland.
As one bidder, Jim Justis of Genoa, put it: “This is a man’s thing” since very few women showed up that chilly morning to bid on all the tools, fishing gear, heavy equipment, horse trailers and lots of old vehicles.
Bidding was brisk, and at the end of the day Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said the total take was $99,827. At least 200 people lined up to acquire bid cards and I was among them. My sole purchase for the day was a nine-foot surveyor’s pole; now someone tell me, what can I use it for?

Auctioneers Josh Hickey (shown), Steve Hilleson and John Bearrows sold nearly $100,000 in goods Oct. 22 at an auction held in Sycamore by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. (Photo ny Barry Schrader)

Even though all guns and other weapons were banned from the sale, Sycamore firefighter Dan Marcinkowski found a 20-inch knife in a sheaf among the tools and won the bid for it.
He told me later it was probably used for skinning deer and planned to give it to his son. He also bought a nice tool box for his truck.
Dumdie reported that stolen goods brought some $27,800, which will be deposited in the county’s general fund. Fourteen “slightly used” squad cars went for a total of $32,300 and the oldest clunker in the sale (from Genoa) brought a measly $300, but you couldn’t drive that one away.
I was surprised to find some expensive deep sea fishing equipment, including lures that are bigger than some of the fish I caught as a kid in the Kish.
The winning bid for a lot of reels was $400 and a bag of lures brought $300. The best looking vehicle was a 2003 Chevy Tahoe, used by Dumdie when he had a canine companion riding with him, which sold for only $4,100.
But it did have 187,000 miles on it and Dumdie admitted to me it still probably had some dog hair in the rear compartment.
A number of fancy horse trailers, likely used by the theft ring to haul their stolen goods to the farm hideout near Leland, went for bargain prices. The top one sold for only $4,500.
Auctioneer Josh Hickey did have a word of warning up front for the bidders though: “Don’t try to pass us a bad check. Despite what you read in the papers there is still room in the jail.”
So I paid cash for my surveyor’s pole, doling out 10 golden presidential dollar coins.
Then last week I was privileged to spend a few hours following Pumpkin Festival founder Wally Thurow around the courthouse lawn as he admired each decorated pumpkin entry and took lots of digital photos. Now an octogenarian, Wally has lived away from Sycamore for many years in Slidell, La., but always comes back to boost this event which has grown from just a dozen pumpkins in his front yard to thousands of decorated entries in its 50th year.
He commented that he has begun his autobiography, handwriting it one page at a time. But he hopes to find a ghostwriter, an author who will help him polish it into the finished product. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see his book done in time for the 51st festival next October?

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115