Greene County Sheriff Terry Pierce was an escaped fugitive for a year, and never even knew it -- at least until the sheriff was "re-arrested" on a warrant for a good cause.
He ended up serving time briefly in a jail-and-bail charity cell built of PVC pipes during Tuesday's National Night Out.
Greene County's local celebration, held Tuesday evening in Humphreys Park, drew together citizens, cops, and rescue workers. It's part of a national promotion aimed at curbing crime and promoting police-community partnerships.
An estimated 1,500 people came out for the free events.
Attendees packed the park, filling it with numbers akin to the Linton Freedom Festival's carnival. The two events shared booths, games, prizes and music in common.
However, as Pierce knew well, only National Night Out had its own jail cell.
"I wondered why they had to wait a whole year and come get me when I was out in the park," Pierce said, laughing. "The thing about their jail compared to mine is, theirs is a lot cooler."
The way the event's fundraiser worked was simple, explained Debbie Moore, a Wabash Valley Correctional Facility employee minding the plastic prison Tuesday evening.
Those who wanted someone arrested paid $2, and the "suspects" were then picked up by Linton Police Department intern Kyle Robinson and Ryan Bredeweg, the son of police reservist Rodney Bredeweg.
"We've had a couple resist, but most have cooperated," Ryan Bredeweg said.
Those jailed could pay a bail of $3 to benefit the charity, then purchase a $5 "Get out of Jail free" card exempting them from arrest the rest of the evening.
All funds raised by the jail-and-bail went to the National Night Out officers, Moore said.
For a change, jail seemed the cool place to be for many kids during the playtime in the park.
"I'm trying to get in there," Nicole Shidler, 15, said, laughing, as she handed a cup of popcorn to her friend Kevin Misner, 16, as he stood behind bars.
"It kind of stinks, but it's nice at the same time," he said. "I just want a hot dog."
Linton's Misner was arrested on a warrant sworn out by his dad Chuck, who stood joking with his son, locked up in a hoosegow made of hollow plastic pipes.
Did his father intend to spring him son from the lock-up?
"Eventually," Chuck Misner said, laughing. "I figure around 9 p.m. this evening" when the event ends.
Spinning a hula hoop despite the heat, Linton's Madison Russell, 6, wore a pink outfit matched by the butterfly painted on her face. Meanwhile, Colten McKinnon, 5, was so impressed by local law enforcement he knows what he wants to be when he grows up: a policeman.
"When someone tries to kill someone or hurt someone, they protect us," McKinnon said.
And even though he spent part of the evening locked up, Pierce admitted the turn-out still made him smile.
"It makes you feel a lot more appreciated when you see so many people come out for an event like this."