(IN) Meter reader's 'gun' prompts resident's call to police


January 2, 2003, 12:02 AM
Meter reader's 'gun' prompts resident's call to police

Tribune Staff Writer

PLYMOUTH -- When Barry Hiatt began reading water meters for Plymouth some six months ago, he couldn't have imagined what happened to him Monday morning.

Hiatt was on his regular route about 10:30 a.m., walking along Jackson Street near the intersection with Fifth Street toward his truck.

"I looked in the rear-view mirror and there was a cop," Hiatt said Monday afternoon. "And then another one pulled up. I thought, 'Oh, geez.' "

"It's not uncommon to see the police while I'm out on the route, especially if they know me, but this one said, 'Where's your book at?'"

"I thought, 'What in the world?'"

Plymouth Police officer Tim Taberski was one of the two patrol officers dispatched to a call of a man with a stocking cap in a plaid jacket, walking around, holding a long gun with a silencer on the end.

The officers asked to see Hiatt's hand-held computer unit and his meter probe, a VersaProbe Logicon with a long, silver shaft on one end.

"It was an electric wand ... and looked like a gun to the caller," Plymouth Police Chief Clyde Avery said later Monday afternoon. "It was a legitimate complaint."

Hiatt, who has one of 21 routes throughout the city, reads about 235 meters on his route. He places the long-shafted probe on the designated spot of a meter and obtains reading data that is then downloaded for processing and billing by a utilities clerk.

The police, taking the call seriously, made sure Hiatt was, indeed, a city employee and that the equipment was, indeed, city-issued.

"I guess I'm going to have to address that," Chris Johnsen, water department superintendent, said of providing some visible identification of the meter readers.

Hiatt said he was ribbed a little by fellow city workers, but that he'd had no other problems on the route, "other than being accused of having a gun."


Them Indiana folks is a mite jumpy....... ;)


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January 2, 2003, 12:18 AM
Where can I get one of those?:neener:

January 2, 2003, 12:20 AM
Hmm..must be a post ban version. I don't see a bayo lug.

Good Shooting

January 2, 2003, 12:22 AM
Naahh - gotta be pre-ban... If he can upload 235 meter readings with that sucker, that's got your HIGH capacity right there! :D

January 2, 2003, 12:25 AM
The Plymouth folks must take that Al Quida stuff seriously. Good for them! :D

Right after 9/11, all the eyeballs around here were very carefully looking over ANY stranger, especially ones carrying anything. Don't think that attitude has lessened much since. Good thing....

January 2, 2003, 12:28 AM
I would guess they were very relieved for two things.

1. He was not a terrorist and was in fact a simple meter reader.
2. His occupation was not a proctologist. :D

Oh..and good point..must be a pre ban meter reader.

Good Shooting

January 2, 2003, 12:30 AM
The "security" in Indiana is more ridiculous than anywhere else I've been in the nation....

They think they're in the Al-Quaeda Top 10 targets... it's comical. At the Fort Wayne airport they were popping trunks and doing mirror inspections to just drop someone off at the terminal...

I hear people talking about how many "important defense corporations" are located in Indiana... I have more DoD contractors within 20 minutes here in Melbourne, FL than are contained in the entire state of Indiana...

The Corn Crowd is a little paranoid and like to feel self-important IMHO....

Not "dissing" any Indiana board folks... I've lived there long enough myself... but ya sure do have a weird crowd...

January 2, 2003, 02:09 AM
Meter Readers in IN must have be Class 3 :D

El Tejon
January 2, 2003, 06:51 AM
And if it WAS a rifle, what law is he breaking? Geez, just what we need 87 year old Ms. McPherson calling the law everytime she looks out the window.

PUMC, we don't need any concern for AQT, and I don't know if "terrorism" concerns prompted this. We've got enough knuckleheads of our own. True, it's not like down there where everyone is on pins and needles, but the paranoid will always find a way to make a nuisance of themselves

Look at it this way, at least they didn't pull him over and detain on the side of the highway and blow up his lunch on the suspicion of being swarthy as they do in Floriduh with poor medical students.:D

January 2, 2003, 07:12 AM
>>Geez, just what we need 87 year old Ms. McPherson calling the law everytime she looks out the window. <<

I doubt it was 87 year old Mrs. McPherson but probably 29 year Ms. McPherson, graduate of the Education Dept. at IU, single mother of one (precious Jered), who called the police to keep her neighborhood 'safe for the children and world peace.'

El Tejon
January 2, 2003, 07:39 AM
Blackcloud6, I stand corrected.:D

January 2, 2003, 08:55 AM
Like toy guns? Of course after they ban toy guns they would be in violation and thrown in jail.:rolleyes:

Kahr carrier
January 2, 2003, 08:59 AM

January 2, 2003, 09:16 AM
Most likely I'll open a can of worms here with some of the more "opinionated", but it's just my two cents.

I don't see anything "wrong" with what happened. Some looked out their window and saw what they thought was a man with a gun. Doesn't matter how old the person was. More likely than not, since he was a meter reader, he walking through folks yards (that's what they do here), and gave someone a fright. Not sure what "laws may been broken", but I'm ok with the fact that someone saw what they thought was a man carrying a gun, walking through their, and their friend's, yards and then called to have him checked out.

Isn't that what we're supposed to do, look out for our 'hood and our friends? Now, I know some will be upset because it involved a "man with a gun" when if fact there was no gun. And I'm not saying it's ok to be so afraid of evgerything that moves. But, in this case, I think the person did "right".

Just my thoughts.

After 9/11, we all have been a little more aware of what's going on around us. In fact, don't we say that everyone should be more aware? Isn't this the very type of thing we are talking about. A person (yeah, I agree with the little old lady thing) saw a stranger, walking through yards in her area and thought he was carrying a gun. She called the police. Where did she "go wrong"? Yes, I too wish she had known more about guns and could tell right off that he wasn't armed, but she didn't, and she called someone who did.

I don't like all the "darn mean old guns" talk comming from the talking heads in our world, any more than anyone else does. I wish our society wasn't so hung up on the whole "guns are evil" thing. But, in this case, I think what the person did was ok. You can be sure, if I see a stranger walking around around the yards in my 'hood, gun or not, I'm going to do more than return to my coffee and newspaper.

I do not agree with a whole bunch of the trash going on out there, concerning how some folks see us owning guns. But in this case, I don't see what the person did as "wrong".

January 2, 2003, 10:02 AM
Meter reading is no fun. I was a Lineman for almost two decades, and was T/A'd as a meter reader for a year. You have to deal with people who set their dogs on you, chase you with sticks, leave their yards full of dog "exhaust", plant sticker bushes in front of the meter, lock their gates only on meter reading days, call in on you for allegedly "macing" their dog (you mean the one you let out of the back door to try to run me off?), or throw down on you for trespassing even when you're in uniform. We had a guy coldcocked and held at gunpoint, another one questioned as a potential rapist. I was once stopped by two plainclothes as a possible peeping tom (for looking over the back fence to see the meter).

I took it as long as I could and then demanded to be put back on a line crew.


January 2, 2003, 11:22 AM
Boy, the water company's getting SERIOUS about those overdue bills...:D

Don Gwinn
January 2, 2003, 11:28 AM
"If he had a rifle, what law was he breaking?"

If a stranger is wandering around your yard with a rifle, you'll think of something! Let's not go totally crazy here, folks. He WAS on private property. And apparently the cop who stopped him had a good idea what was going on and handled it well. I don't see the problem.

El Tejon
January 2, 2003, 12:06 PM
Don, not disputing that the police did not handle it well (cool), just pointing out that under our Crim Code, no offense was present (maybe crim tres if notice posted). "Gun!"=permission for everyone to lose their common sense.;)

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