Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
By Margie Wuebker
Water tower antics net local men disorderly conduct charges
  Three area men face charges after they allegedly climbed the Chickasaw water tower early Sunday morning and then left the scene before authorities arrived.
Mercer County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call at 3:55 a.m. but found no one in the area. A subsequent call indicated the trio had climbed down and left in a blue four-wheel drive pickup truck with a loud exhaust. They were last seen headed southbound on state Route 716 in the direction of Maria Stein.
Lt. Martin Emerine and Deputy Mark Heinl observed a vehicle backing from a private drive north of state Route 119. That vehicle reportedly matched the description right down to the loud exhaust. The northbound truck made a quick turn onto Rolfes Road after passing a cruiser and turned into a private drive.
The three men - Thomas J. Thobe, 21, 8936 Recovery-Minster Road, Minster, Douglas P. Giere, 21, 8663 Recovery-Minster Road, Maria Stein, and Kyle D. Hartings, 21, 2190 St. John Road, Maria Stein, - admitted climbing the water tower and were charged with disorderly conduct. Alcohol was listed as a factor in the escapade.
Deputies also charged Thobe, the driver, with operating a vehicle under the influence and illegal blood-alcohol content. He reportedly tested 0.129 with 0.8 being the legal limit. He later was released into the custody of his parents.
A 21-year-old Maria Stein woman, also a passenger in the pickup truck, faces no charges because she did not climb the water tower, according to sheriff's office and witness statements.
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