ELIZABETHTOWN — A little (jail)bird told us there will be some cooped-up culprits pretty soon.
The Bladen County Educational Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that assists and provides support for public education in the Mother County, is having its ninth annual Jail-A-Thon on Wednesday, April 26.
The fundraiser, which normally raises about $5,000 for education, involves participants being “arrested” and brought to the Board of Education building, where they don black-and-white-striped attire over their clothes and have a large, plastic ball chained to their ankles. Trumped-up charges are read against the criminal, and bail is set. Participants are able to call others to donate to the Foundation in order to effect their release.
“Unless I hear differently, we’ve got a lot of people to arrest next Thursday,” joked David Wall, Bladen County Educational Foundation treasurer.
Charges against the participants cover a wide range of offenses. Usually related to the criminal’s job or community standing, they can range from bribery of an athletic official by a coach or providing false information on a grant for a writer to selling stolen goods at a local business for a store owner or employee. Fines might be anywhere from $20 to $200 in order to escape.
“It’s all in fun, and people are good sports, so we really have a good time,” said Wall. The Elizabethtown attorney serves as “judge” for the event.
So that no reputations are sullied in the name of fun, potential participants are mailed letters ahead of time stating they have been selected for arrest. Volunteers are allowed to schedule their arrest at a convenient time and location, and anyone not willing to participate is able to opt out.
Anyone with questions or willing to participate or refer someone for arrest may call David Wall at 910-862-1488. Contributions may also be made on site the day of the Jail-A-Thon.
The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m at the Bladen County Board of Education, located at 1489 U.S. 701 South in Elizabethtown.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.