AMISH TEENS SINGING SAD TUNE AS THIEVES GRAB BUGGY STEREOS

Published: Wednesday, June 23 1993 12:00 a.m. MDT

Buggy thefts are not a problem in northeast Ohio's Amish region, but thefts of stereos from the buggies owned by Amish teenagers are becoming more common.

Middlefield Police Chief David Easthon said one of the latest thefts involved a $575 stereo system, along with cassettes worth $250. The items were taken from a 17-year-old's buggy that was parked at a shopping plaza.The stolen equipment included a 120-watt equalizer and booster and 12-inch subwoofer speakers. The cassettes were of rock and country music.

Although the Amish generally shun 20th-century technology, the avoidance of showiness does not include sound.

"It's not uncommon for Amish youths to have these stereos," Easton said. "They plug them into the 12-volt batteries they use to run their buggy lights. They are allowed to have electronic stuff if it is battery-operated."

The chief said two other stereo outfits owned by Amish youths were stolen last month from buggies parked at a mail hitching post. One was valued at $300.

"In a buggy, they can't lock the doors or close the windows," said Easthon. "They should try to bolt their stereos very securely or leave someone to watch the equipment when they go into shops, at least until we solve these crimes."

An official at the Radio Shack store in Middlefield said up to 60 percent of the store's stereo customers are Amish.

"Some of these Amish buggies have some fancy tunes - you've got to see it to believe it," said Geauga County Sheriff's Lt. Dan McClelland. "They like to crank 'em up, too. They'll be coming down the road at night and you'll hear them playing."

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