25 years ago: Stolen snake found wrapped around thief's neck; 20-year-old mail recovered

From The Aegis dated Aug. 27, 1987:

"That check that was in the mail 20 years ago – well, someone just found it in their attic," was the headline across the bottom of The Aegis 25 years ago this week.

An estimated 300 pieces of mail, postmarked between 1965 and 1970, were found in the attic of a Raymond Avenue home by its new owner. Postal inspectors were trying to determine where to send the found letters, though they were being vague on the details, like how many were found, exactly, and who the postal employee was who lived in the house for so long.

"We will do our best to try and deliver the mail. We will either send it, forward it to their new addresses or return to sender, depending on the circumstances," an inspector said.

The letters were found by Thomas Keefer, the new owner of the house, nestled in attic insulation.

A sheriff's deputy approaching a passenger in a car got a surprise 25 years ago. When he opened the door of a car he had pulled over in Joppa because the driver didn't have his lights on, he found a 10-foot python wrapped around a man passed out in the front seat.

The man and his 20-year-old brother allegedly stole the snake from a woman with whom they had been drinking for much of the evening. The party ended around 3 a.m., police said, and the woman was awakened by a noise. When she went to check it out, she found the sliding glass door open and her snake, and nothing else, missing. She immediately called police, who had incidentally stopped a car on Route 40 because its lights weren't on. The driver, the older brother, bailed out of the car and ran off, but the younger brother was passed out in the passenger seat.

Both were charged with theft morel than $300 – the snake was valued at $800.

A Fallston couple was trying to squelch a rumor 25 years ago this week that they had sold their property to a cult. Catherine Vickers, who owned the property with her builder/developer husband Charles Vickers, said the 68 acres were not sold to what others had called a "fundamentalist religious organization accused of bilking parishioners of their personal fortunes."

"I live in this community and I have children and I am just as concerned about such a group as anyone else," she said. "I don't know where the rumors started, but there is no truth to them."

Harford County was one of the top-reading counties in the country 25 years ago this week. A survey done by Place Related Almanac showed that Harford readers borrowed 12.1 books a year, four more than the state average. And Maryland ranked second in the nation for number of books read – 8.1 books per person, per year.

The county library system implemented several programs to encourage reading among its patrons, and the most popular was the summer reading program. Librarians visited local classrooms to get more children interested.

It appeared that the Ring Factory site would be the default site of a new elementary school 25 years ago. The school board had imposed an Aug. 31 deadline on itself to come up with an alternative site for the new school. The school administration preferred the Ring Factory site, while state and local officials preferred one at Singer Road.

The man accused of killing a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer was set to stand trial this week 25 years ago for trying to escape from the county jail. Lawyers for Frank Green, however, were expected to ask for a change of venue, delaying the trial.

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