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To Cold-Nosed Federal Agent, Crime Makes Scents

May 10, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

The new federal agent at New York's Kennedy International Airport is the no-nonsense type. Heavy-jowled, green-jacketed, never smiling, he trudges down the line at Customs, inspecting suitcases with a weary eye. But he does wag his tail a lot. He is Department of Agriculture Agent 01D, better known as Jackpot or, to close friends, just plain J. P. Although the beagle is not yet 2 years old, he has the blase look of someone who has seen it all, heard it all and smelled it all. His job, as an agent of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is to sniff out contraband food--not drugs--being brought into the United States from abroad. Banned are most foreign meats, fruits and vegetables. J. P. is one of four beagles--another is his brother, Nikki--participating in a pilot program at airports in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. J. P. doesn't bite, says his trainer, Roseanne Bottone. He just gets room and board and his nose is uninsured. Jackpot also came close to creating an international incident once when he tried to relieve himself on a suitcase. "He missed," Bottone reported.

----Rock star Bruce Springsteen, 35, plans to marry model-actress Julianne Phillips, 25, whom he met backstage six months ago, her parents said in lake Oswego, a Portland, Ore., suburb. The parents, William and Anne Phillips, said that the wedding would be in Lake Oswego. As for the date, United Press International rock music writer Frank Spotnitz predicted it would be Wednesday.

--It was a routine assignment for Jim Tice when a client asked him to find a 350-pound woman willing to jump around naked on a trampoline. "I found three," the one-time advertising executive recalled, hastening to add that they were not intended for any immoral activity. "They were supposed to bounce naked for a slow-motion scene in a scientific film on the study of motion," Tice explained. Tice, 45, makes a living by finding anything for anyone--at a price. His Stillwater, Okla., company, Finders Keepers, operates a network of 400 part-time agents in 22 countries hunting for items that would hardly be found in a neighborhood store. "Most of the stuff we look for appeals only to dreamers, collectors or the very wealthy," Tice said. He once found a gasoline-powered pogo stick. He has also tracked down a football signed by Jim Thorpe, a pair of Howdy Doody earmuffs and a genuine Gypsy caravan. "There's always somebody looking for something," he said. "If it's not illegal or immoral, and if you're patient, we'll track it down for you."

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