state

2009 Shop with a Cop!

It doesn’t take 9-year-old Preston Gunter long to shop. Just a few minutes after he headed into the wilds of Wal-Mart during Sunday’s Shop with a Cop, he was standing in the checkout line with Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Troy Thompson, his shopping buddy. In his cart: an Indiana Jones video game, a Bakugan game and a large bag of Butterfingers. There was one problem. He hadn’t spent enough — there was money remaining on his gift card. So, off he went again with Trooper Thompson, quickly returning with a case for the Bakugan game. “He knew what he wanted and he knew right where to go,” Thompson said. “There were only three of the games, so he was glad he got to be one of the first to go.”
For his part, Preston didn’t say much, but his frequent smiles spoke volumes. He was one of 97 children taking part in Leadership Shawnee’s Shop with a Cop. The Shawnee Chamber of Commerce annually sponsors Leadership Shawnee and requires each class to have a project. This year’s class decided to organize Shop with a Cop and raised $7,500 to buy $75 gift cards for 92 children and presents for five of their siblings who were younger than 18 months. The 92 older children were paired up with a local enforcement officer as a shopping partner. For about two hours, the area just south of Wal-Mart’s book section was packed with children, their parents, cops and Leadership Shawnee class members. Everyone involved genuinely seemed to enjoy the experience. “All the policemen are smiling and all the kids are smiling,” said Felicia Freeman, one of the Leadership Shawnee class members. “It feels good just knowing that we helped make the kids have a good Christmas.” A total of 39 officers from the Shawnee, McLoud and Tecumseh police departments, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Absentee Shawnee Nation volunteered to help the youngsters shop. Dan Shumaker of the Shawnee Police Department said he was glad he had the opportunity to participate. His first shopping partner was a girl who bought clothes. “Her father thanked me over and over and over,” Shumaker said. “With the economy being the way it is, this is perfect timing. You could see in her face that it made a difference.” Wal-Mart supplied cookies and Hawaiian Punch for the shoppers, their parents and the cops. Brenda Burkey, a department manager, came in on her day off to run a register at a line dedicated for Shop with a Cop sales only. “I’m a sucker for the kids,” she said. “You could see their eyes light up. It was just magic.”
For some shoppers, particularly the older ones, it went fast indeed. Some of the younger ones took a more leisurely pace, savoring the moment and the company of the cop. And the program had an unintended benefit for one person not involved in Shop with a Cop. A lady went to the check-in table to sternly ask how long the policemen would be tied up at the store. When told about another hour and a half, she brightened.
“That’s great — I’m going to speed on my way home.” Despite the potential for abetting in the violation of speed laws, members have discussed continuing Shop with a Cop next year and making it annual event.

Missing Tecumseh teen, alleged kidnapper found in Washington

A 14-year-old Tecumseh girl, missing since Feb. 2., and the 40-year-old man who reportedly took her, were found in the state of Washington Saturday afternoon during a routine traffic stop.  Lt. J. R. Kidney of the Tecumseh Police Department said that James Joseph Reimer, 40, was arrested during a routine traffic stop by the Washington State Highway Patrol. The Tecumseh teenager, Deborah Kalai Fourzan, 14, was with him at the time and Kidney said he was told the girl was believed to be safe and not harmed.  He said both Fourzan and Reimer, who has turned 41 since he left town with the teen, were taken to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department in Montesano, Wash., about 50 miles from where Reimer was stopped and arrested. The arrest took place near the small town of Hoquiam, Wash., Kidney said, and he was informed by a sergeant with the state’s highway patrol Kidney said that Reimer was arrested and is being held on a $100,000 warrant that was filed in Pottawatomie County by District Attorney Richard Smothermon here on the day the teenager left with Reimer. That warrant specifically accuses Reimer of soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by the use of technology.
Fourzan was last seen about 8 a.m. on Feb. 2 at Tecumseh High School, Kidney has stated.  Kidney said Saturday night that last Thursday he signed kidnapping charges against Reimer and he expects those to be filed by the DA possibly as early as Monday. Although investigators believe Fourzan went willingly with Reimer, because of her age, she can’t do that legally, Kidney said.  The Tecumseh officer said it was his understanding the traffic stop took place about 4 p.m. Washington time which would put it around 6 p.m. in Oklahoma. He said that FBI agents in the state of Washington probably would be headed either Sunday or Monday to the sheriff’s office where the teen and Reimer were being held Saturday night. He said it was his understanding the FBI planned to talk to both the teenager and Reimer.
No charges have been filed against Fourzan for anything, Kidney said Saturday night.  Kidney told the News-Star late Saturday evening he had visited by phone with an FBI agent in Norman who had been in contact with the FBI in Washington state. He said the FBI was investigating to determine if federal charges against Reimer might be warranted.  Reimer reportedly had worked at a convenience store at SH 102 and SH 9, but had not been seen there since Feb. 2. Kidney said the Pottawatomie County sheriff’s office is investigating the theft of several thousand dollars from that store which allegedly occurred on that date as well.  Kidney indicated that extradition of Reimer would be sought. And he said hopefully the teen’s family would be able to pick up her as early as Monday.