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Tammy Bakker Stopped at Border in Stolen Car Mix-Up

May 31, 1987|H.G. REZA | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Tammy Bakker, wife of embattled television evangelist Jim Bakker, was among four women who were stopped by U.S. Customs agents Friday night at the San Ysidro border crossing when a routine check of the vehicle they were driving showed that it had been reported stolen.

A Customs agent, who was on duty when the women were stopped at 9:30 p.m., said Bakker told agents that they had spent the day shopping in Tijuana and were returning to Palm Springs. The agent, who asked not to be identified, said Bakker and the others were bringing back several bags of clothing.

The women were detained for about 90 minutes before they were released. Bakker was unruffled by the incident, the agent said, and joked about the stop.

Customs Supervisor Ruben Carrasco said a routine computer check of the car's license plate showed that the owner, Budget Rent-A-Car of Palm Springs, had reported it stolen. The California Highway Patrol was notified, and a subsequent check by the CHP concluded that the car had mistakenly been reported stolen.

"The (CHP) officer called the registered owner . . . who said that the stolen report had been made in error and requested that we release the car to the driver," CHP Sgt. Herb Langford said. Langford identified the driver as Emma R. Howard of Palm Springs.

According to Langford, Bakker told the CHP that the PTL ministry rented all of its cars from Budget and that someone simply forgot to renew the rental agreement.

The Bakkers resigned recently as heads of the PTL ministry after Jim Bakker admitted having a sexual encounter with a church secretary. More recently, Bakker has been busy defending himself against allegations of homosexuality made by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, now the head of the PTL.

The Bakkers and Howard could not be reached for comment.

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