Feds grab Brown car
Concord monitor | July 20, 2007
Federal marshals have seized a car owned by Elaine Brown, after the car was involved in a fender bender in Lebanon, U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said. He said that Lebanon police called him after arriving at the scene of the accident. Neither Elaine Brown nor her husband, Ed Brown, was driving the car, but Monier said his office impounded the car.
"It's a vehicle belonging to a fugitive, and we're investigating it further," he said.
The Browns have been convicted of a series of federal felonies related to their refusal to pay federal income taxes but have evaded arrest for more than five months. The couple remain holed up in their concrete home in Plainfield, warning that any attempt to arrest them will end with bloodshed.
Monier and his staff have not blocked cars from entering and leaving the property. Supporters have been running errands for the couple, bringing them food and other supplies throughout the standoff. On Saturday, the couple hosted a concert, which drew more than 100 supporters, according to estimates from those who attended. The Monitor was barred from attending the "jamboree," as were other news media outlets.
On his daily internet radio show, Ed Brown acknowledged that the car had been taken while a friend was out buying him some eggs. He described the car as the family's sport utility vehicle and said it was owned by one of his wife's trusts.
Brown said that the marshals had "arrested" the car and taken a $100 gift certificate that was inside.
"I need another SUV now," Ed Brown said. "They just stole one."
Neither Brown nor Monier said who was driving the car.
But Monier did say that his office is investigating several Brown supporters and expects to charge them with felonies for aiding and abetting the couple. Monier has been warning the couple's supporters that they might face charges since the couple was sentenced in April, but so far, there have been no arrests.
"We think there are several individuals who have engaged in a continuing course of conduct that rises to the level of committing a felony offense," Monier said yesterday.
He also said that he was planning measures designed to encourage the couple to surrender, though he did not say what they were. In recent weeks, marshals have cut phone and power to the house, but in interviews Ed Brown said those measures have had little effect. The house is outfitted with solar panels, and a wind turbine in the yard also produces electricity. Supporters have been bringing mobile phones to the house, which have allowed the couple to speak on the radio and post internet updates.
"I will say we're proceeding in a purposeful and methodical and deliberate way," Monier said. "In the near future there may be additional future steps that we may take to move the Browns along."
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