The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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April 4, 2014

Area leaders 'arrested' for MDA fundraiser

Doing time, doing good

— It might have appeared a rash of petty crime peppered the Athens area  Wednesday morning with patrol cars popping up at schools, stores, eateries and office buildings.

But the bevy of arrests around town was due to approximately 100 business and community leaders going to jail as part of Limestone’s first-ever Lock-Up fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The charity-crime roundup snared everyone from Revenue Commissioner Brian Patterson and District Attorney Brian Jones to Answer-Tel General Manager Marie McGuire and Cowart Elementary School Principal Kim Moore.

The philanthropy arrest report was dotted with realtors, bankers and store managers. It included county commissioners Steve Turner and Gary Daly, East Limestone High School Principal Dennis Black, Sheriff Mike Blakely, Housing Authority Director Larry Pippins and Athens Recycling Center’s Ruby McCartney.

The local luminaries agreed in advance to be charged with “having a big heart” to raise money for people with neuromuscular diseases, according to MDA officials.

Then they were arrested at their offices Thursday morning and taken to a temporary holding area at the Valley Event Center. Each inmate spent an hour in the MDA jail with bond set at $1,600.

Participants posted bail through collecting donations before the event and by working the phones while in “police” custody.

Birmingham-based MDA Executive Director Terri Wilson said the goal is to raise $25,000, with the nationwide event being held for the first time locally.

Donations still will be accepted through individual fundraising websites or mailed to MDA, 700 Century Park South, Suite 225, Birmingham, AL 35226.

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