Charges dropped in bioterror scare caused by flour in Conn. parking lot

Monday, November 12, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Charges have been dropped against two siblings who inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare when they sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club.

New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who was visiting from Hamburg, Germany, had been charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.

The charges were dropped Thursday after Daniel Salchow agreed he and his sister would donate $4,000 to local charities. Prosecutors could reopen the case if the Salchows do the same thing again in the next 13 months.

The siblings set off the scare while organizing a run for a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a worldwide group that bills itself as a "drinking club with a running problem."

"Hares" are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges. In August, the Salchows decided to route runners through an IKEA furniture store parking lot.

Police fielded a call that someone was sprinkling powder on the ground. The store was evacuated and remained closed the rest of the night. The incident prompted a massive response from police in New Haven and surrounding towns.

Daniel Salchow biked back to IKEA when he heard there was a problem and told officers the powder was just flour, which he said he and his sister have sprinkled everywhere from New York to California without incident.

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