In a case of mistaken identity, the Jim Thorpe Police Department confiscated some suspicious looking plants from their pots in front of the Jim Thorpe National Bank last week. The flowers, of a variety called Lupine, became the latest casualty of Jim Thorpe's war on drugs because they bore a close resemblance to cannabis, or marijuana plants.
The story began on Tuesday morning, when a member of the Carbon County Sheriff's office drove past the bank, located on Broadway in Jim Thorpe's downtown. The lupine flowers, which hadn't blossomed, looked suspicious to him, and he called in the Jim Thope Police Department to investigate.
In response to the call, the Jim Thorpe police sent two officers to the bank to confiscate the plants, which were subjected to chemical testing. According to Craig Zurn, bank president, the police department confirmed through the test that the plants were not cannabis.
"It's not a big deal. It's humorous," said Zurn. "To me, its evidence that the police department is being proactive in fighting drugs. You never know what brazen things people will do." Zurn went on to say that the bank is not seeking a refund for the loss of the plants.
The bank plans to plant the flowers again next summer.
"They're supposed to be quite beautiful," said Zurn, "I was excited because I'd never seen them in bloom."
The officers in charge of the confiscation could not be reached for comment. However, Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz noted that there have not been any incidents of attempts to publicly grow marijuana on Broadway.
"I was on vacation when this happened," Schatz said. "When I came back I heard that there was an incident involving suspicion over some plants being marijuana, but that it was not the case."
Zurn's good humor over the incident shows respect for the good work the police department does.
However, in a small, tightly knit community like Jim Thorpe, no event goes unnoticed. The story of the confiscated flowers became the subject of gossip and joking among townspeople.
One resident was heard going into the bank and asking the teller for some marijuana along with his withdrawal.
In the checkout aisle of the Jim Thorpe Market, an anonymous women asked, "hasn't anyone on the police department ever seen a Cheech and Chong movie?"