Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Crop Circle Creates Buzz in Stark County

Crop Circles Sandy Township, Ohio

Four teens confess to crop circle

Geometric design in soybean field creates buzz south of Stark County; curious spectators visit

By Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal
7-25-06

     SANDY TWP. - For a brief, shining moment, it looked as if extraterrestrials may have been trying to contact folks in Tuscarawas County.

But by Monday, four panicked teens confessed to carving a crop circle into a soybean field off Cross Roads Road, just a couple of miles south of the Stark County line.

``They confessed before they even said hello,'' said Capt. Orvis Campbell, a Tuscarawas County sheriff's detective. ``They apologized. They said it had gone too far.''

The crop circle -- a geometric design carved into a field -- was discovered Saturday morning and has been all the buzz since then.

A Cleveland TV station hired a helicopter to take aerial shots; UFO investigators descended on the field. On Monday afternoon, one investigator appeared to have a Geiger counter to track radiation levels that reportedly are higher than normal in crop circles.

It was so congested that the Sheriff's Office worried about the safety of the many people crossing the road, a main artery for tractor-trailers.

``I just had to see it,'' said Rita Nelson of Akron, one of about 20 people at the site on Monday afternoon. ``I just think it's so cool to have something like this happen here.''

Scott A. Kleinhans of Alliance and Jim Swarts of Sebring brought disposable cameras to photograph the site.

The two, who belong to the Tri-County UFO Study Group in Sebring, chose disposable cameras because the film can't be doctored and therefore discredited.

While Kleinhans and Swarts were willing to believe that the crop circle may have been the work of a UFO or other paranormal force, other onlookers were more skeptical.

One was George Hackett of Dover, one of the owners of the field of 100-plus acres that is rented to another farmer.

Hackett said he was immediately suspicious because the crop circle was too conveniently located beneath an elevated bridge, easy to see from the road.

It was so easy to see that some onlookers climbed down into the field and walked through the geometric maze, further crushing the soybeans.

``I feel sorry for the farmer,'' Hackett said. ``I would be happy if they just made restitution to him.''

As to how they did it, the teens told the Sheriff's Office that they used the age-old prankster's technique -- attaching clotheslines to the end of a two-by-four, then stepping on the plank to flatten the crop.

It apparently wasn't hard to do, as they went to the field at 2 a.m. Saturday and were done in 45 minutes, Campbell said.

They hoped the crop circle would make the local weekly newspaper and were appalled when the news spread far and wide.

``These are good, likable kids who haven't been in trouble with the law before,'' Campbell said. ``They're going to make it right to the farmer. Their parents are going to make them make it right.''

He said all four likely would be charged with a minor misdemeanor such as criminal damaging. The 16- and 18-year-olds are from the Magnolia area, the 17-year-old from East Sparta, and the 19-year-old from Waynesburg, he said.

But even with the culprits' admission in hand, Campbell found it hard to convince one believer.

When he asked him to get out of the field and told him teens had confessed to the vandalism, the investigator objected that ``this crop circle looks real.''

``He said, `I've been investigating this for 15 years, and I don't think teenagers did it,' '' Campbell reported.

More . . .

See Also: Crop Circles Draw Starksboro Couple

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