The garbage disposal was spitting out coffee grounds and sudsy water was flooding the laundry room floor yesterday morning when a Prince George's deputy sheriff knocked on Patricia Logue's door and told her she was under arrest. "I was hysterical. I thought, what have my kids done now?"
The sheriff hauled Logue off to a jail cell in the hallway of Bowie's Marketplace shopping center where she was charged with impersonating a beach bum and told to get on the phone and raise her bond -- $250 in pledges for the American Cancer Society.
Yesterday was the second and final day of the "jailathon" sponsored by the Bowie unit of the Maryland division of the cancer society. By last evening, off-duty county police officers and deputy sheriffs had rounded up 80 jailbirds -- some in handcuffs -- who raised more than $10,000 in pledges, according to project coordinator Steve McHenry. None of the persons arrested was under any obligation to go to the jail or to stay there.
The jailathon "is the latest craze" in fund raising, McHenry said, adding that it has been used by many other branches of the cancer society.
Logue, who had been away at the beach for several days, had forgotten that the project was under way. Her husband, Bowie Mayor Richard Logue, was "arrested" Thursday.
The dragnet pulled in teachers, counselors, housewives and a Washington Post reporter. Prince George's Del. Joan Pitkin and James E. Lyons, president of Bowie State College, also did a little time. Lyons alone raised more than $1,000, McHenry said.
State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall, who made an unsuccessful bid for a judgeship in the last election, got his wish Thursday when he officiated as one of the judges, setting bonds as high as $750.
Judy Bell, director of the Bowie Youth Services Bureau, and Lee Brown, personnel manager at Makro, said they were sent in by friendly but disgruntled employes. Brown said he was charged with failure to provide adequate sales help during the Christmas rush at the store.
"Gee," Bell said, "your people hold a grudge for a long time."
Most of those arrested knew what was going on, according to Sgt. Bill Stagg. However, the officers said there were a few people who were not amused by the idea and refused to come.
Pitkin however, was having a great time. "I think it's a great idea," she said while feverishly phoning to beg for help in raising her $500 bond. She had the foresight to bring her Rolodex along. Pitkin said she only had one complaint -- "We don't even get bread and water."