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Revelers Avoid Arrest With Barest of Measures

May 28, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Despite bigger crowds on the Colorado River over Memorial Day weekend, police reported a drop in disorderly conduct arrests.

Police explained that in past years, one of the biggest problems has been rowdy crowds encouraging women to expose their breasts. This year, many such women avoided arrest by wearing pasties, stick-on coverings for the nipples.

"There were a lot of pasties out there, more than ever," Det. Mike Fassari, supervisor of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's Marine Enforcement Unit along the Colorado River, said Tuesday.

Because of the trend, he said, "a lot of my guys on the water were saying we ought to give away junior deputy stickers to help out."

As for enforcement, though, the sheriff's unit limited itself to water safety matters.

Charlie Cassens, spokesman for Lake Havasu City, Ariz., confirmed that city police were under orders not to arrest women for disorderly conduct if they were wearing pasties.

"With a greater number of people, you'd assume you'd have more arrests, but there were a greater number of pasties," Cassens said.

"We don't necessarily like pasties ... but, yes, pasties do meet the letter of the law.''An estimated 40,000 holiday revelers crowded into the half-mile section of the river around London Bridge over the weekend, but police said the 36 arrests for disorderly conduct were about half the number reported last year.

One entrepreneurial pontoon boat operator was selling pasties for $10 a pair.

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