More on the Odd Bob Dylan Incident

Monday, August 17th, 2009

There are some new details in the Bob Dylan incident in New Jersey reported over the weekend.

Actually, this first link isn’t new, it just includes information that wasn’t included in the original story I linked to:

According to Long Branch Police Department Sgt. Michael Ahart, Dylan had been peering into a window of a house that was for sale, which prompted a neighbor to call the police on July 23.

This ABC News report also doesn’t mention Dylan peering in a window, but does say he wandered onto the property of a house for sale.

Either case would make the police apprehension of him less troubling, and he was technically trespassing, though once it was clear he didn’t pose a threat to anyone, I’m still not sure he should have to produce identification.

More interesting is this bit from the ABC report about why Dylan may have been wandering around New Jersey in the rain:

Was Bob Dylan looking for the home where Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born to Run” in 1974 when he was detained by police near the Jersey shore last month?

The 68-year-old music legend was picked up one Thursday last month by a 24-year-old cop who failed to recognize him as he walked the streets of Long Branch, N.J. in the pouring rain.

It may have been as simple as it appears: Dylan told police he was talking a walk and looking at a home for sale.

But the area where Dylan was picked up was just a couple blocks from the beachside bungalow where Bruce Springsteen wrote the material for his landmark 1975 album “Born to Run.”

In the past nine months, Dylan has visited the childhood homes of Neil Young and John Lennon, in both cases appearing without fanfare and barely identifying himself after he was recognized.

Last November, Winnipeg homeowner John Kiernan told Sun Media’s Simon Fuller that Dylan and a friend arrived unannounced in a taxi to his Grosvenor Ave. home, where songwriter Neil Young grew up.

Dylan, Kiernan said, was unshaved and had the brim of his hat pulled down over his head. He asked for a look inside and inquired about Young’s bedroom and where he would have played his guitar.

(Edit: Contrary to initial reports, the police now say it was the occupants of the home Dylan wandered up to who contacted them.)

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25 Responses to “More on the Odd Bob Dylan Incident”

  1. #1 |  K. Neary | 

    sure does make it difficult for an artist to capture the muse when the boys in blue are called…….though maybe there will be something brilliant that comes from his experience.

    “……..sometimes all it takes is a wink or a nod from some unexpected place to vary the tedium of a baffling existence.”
    BOB DYLAN

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    we need to start a pool on where he’s showing up next… maybe Brian Wilson’s childhood home? John Prine’s?

    neat story!

  3. #3 |  goldhoarder | 

    OT…wonder what DC think tank they are talking about?

    Cheers For Lew, And What They Mean
    Posted by Thomas Woods on August 17, 2009 09:30 AM
    Lew, the cheers for the speakers this weekend, but especially for you, were extremely gratifying. Not because you or I are vain, but for this very good reason: what Beltway think-tank head is ever greeted by standing ovations and wild cheering? I’m not talking polite applause and maybe even a couple whistles, but loud, sustained cheering. To condemn you is to condemn all the people who cheered — and there are lots and lots of them. I’m not sure I’d want to do that if I were running a D.C. think tank.

    Incidentally, I know of one such think tank that was harshly critical of Dr. Paul early last year, but recently, seeing that normal people love Dr. Paul more than ever and perhaps realizing what a boneheaded move that was, ate some crow and invited him to speak.

  4. #4 |  LOLcat | 

    What a peculiar fellow

  5. #5 |  surfersrule | 

    Bob will have a tough time finding Brian’s childhood home….it was demolished years ago and replaced with a freeway. However, there is a historical marker he could look at.

  6. #6 |  Waste | 

    “Either case would make the police apprehension of him less troubling, though once it was clear he didn’t pose a threat to anyone, I’m still not sure he should have to produce identification. ”

    Have to disagree with this. You still need to identify him. Not sure how you can determine he wasn’t a threat until you do. For all the officer knew the person could be a burglar, rapists, arsonist, or something like that. People do lie to officers about their identity, especially when they have a warrant out for their arrest. It seems in this case everyone acted professionaly without an adverse outcome.

  7. #7 |  joshgeek | 

    dylan can stop by my place anytime. the cops most definitely would not be called. :)

  8. #8 |  Mike T | 

    Since when is it suspicious behavior for someone from outside of the neighborhood to walk up to a house that is for sale, check out the exterior and see if they can get a peek inside?

  9. #9 |  Ben | 

    “Have to disagree with this. You still need to identify him. Not sure how you can determine he wasn’t a threat until you do. For all the officer knew the person could be a burglar, rapists, arsonist, or something like that. People do lie to officers about their identity, especially when they have a warrant out for their arrest. It seems in this case everyone acted professionaly without an adverse outcome.”

    Actually, since New Jersey doesn’t have a stop and identify statute, no they didn’t HAVE to identify him, unless you are of the opinion that they had some sort of probable cause that he was involved in a crime. Do we want the police assuming powers that they don’t have just in case every tom dick and harry walking the street is a potential rapist murderer child molester with an outstanding warrant?

    “Since when is it suspicious behavior for someone from outside of the neighborhood to walk up to a house that is for sale, check out the exterior and see if they can get a peek inside?”

    Ditto. When my wife and I were house shopping last fall, we stopped and took a gander at houses and yards many times when the owners were not home. I don’t know if there is relevant law on this, but I would think that a “for sale” sign is an invitation to quickly inspect the premises during reasonable hours of the day.

  10. #10 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Imagine Jesus Christ wandering through American suburbs today.
    Through the Land of Freedom.
    Imagine how many Nosy Nancies would call 911 on him
    and how many times he’d have to produce ID.

  11. #11 |  Chris in AL | 

    I cannot count the number of times I looked into the windows of houses that were for sale when my wife and I were looking to buy a house. You see that there are no cars, or the lawn isn’t mowed and you suspect that the house is unoccupied. You walk up to the front door, and if it has windows you look in to see if there is furniture. If there isn’t, it is perfectly ok to walk around the house, looking in windows to see what the property looks like.

    Just the other day I saw too guys stop their car, get out and begin looking very hard at my neighbor’s car. Might have been suspicious, except the neighbor has a “For Sale” sign on his car and clearly wants people to stop and look.

  12. #12 |  Bob | 

    “….I don’t know if there is relevant law on this, but I would think that a “for sale” sign is an invitation to quickly inspect the premises during reasonable hours of the day.”

    If you stay on the sidewalk (or other public area) it’s fine. But once you go onto private property, it’s called ‘Trespassing’. You should have an Agent with you.

    See, when they placed their house on the market, they probably gave permission for it to be viewed while a licensed agent is accompanying the prospective home buyer. See how that works? They can probably even let you in to see the inside!

    I own a house, and I have the expectation of both ‘privacy’ and ‘reasonable use’. I expect people to not walk up and peer into my windows to ‘look inside’ outside of some emergency. Also, if someone walks up to my door, I expect them to have some reason to then ring the doorbell and wait in a civilized manner for me to open it.

    This is how civilized society works. We don’t just walk up to people’s houses and peer into the windows.

    Ok… so… you’re a cop. Some guy is wandering around on other people’s property looking into their windows. Yeah, you’re going to expect him to identify himself. I think they handled this very well. Would YOU recognize Bob Dylan on sight? I would not.

    Now, had he been stopped on a public street and expected to produce ID with no probable cause… that’s a different story.

  13. #13 |  Waste | 

    Ben,

    They had probable cause because of the call of a suspicious person. They then had someone claiming they were a famous musician. The chances of that were very low (but in this case correct) and they very likely thought they may have had someone with mental issues or possibly suffering from alzheimers. I would have figured the latter based on an elderly male wandering around in the rain looking into a house. It is not unreasonable to check out their claim by checking their identity. Another factor I have not seen mentioned was what time of day was it. Was it in the middle of the day or late at night?

  14. #14 |  steven | 

    Weird, I was reading this site with my iTunes on in the background and as I come to this story “The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Dylan came on.

  15. #15 |  Ben (no, a different one) | 

    Its not trespassing (at least here in TX) unless its obviously marked off limits (like with a fence or a sign) or I tell them to leave. Plus, a for sale sign is something of an invititation.

    Regardless of that, once he gave a name and a reasonable reason for being there I don’t see what right they had to detain him further – much less put him in a car and transport him elsewhere. They had no serious reason to doubt him unless there was a recent rash of burglaries.

  16. #16 |  Bob | 

    Oh what, I got minus karma’d for defending private property? On a LIBERTARIAN board? Come on!

    Think about it, a ‘For Sale’ sign is not a legally recognized status. If some looky loo can tromp all over your property looking in the windows, then so can any cop, with or without a ‘For Sale’ sign.

    Would you actually want “Well, i was walking around the guy’s house, looking in the windows… when I saw what appeared to be drug paraphanalia on the coffee table. So I busted in and made the arrest” to hold up in court?

  17. #17 |  Dan Z | 

    Bob,

    I think the issue here is that the homeowners them self were not submitting the complaint about a stranger. So i guess if you are asserting private property rights as my neighbor complaining about someone being on my lawn. If the homeowner lodged the complaint I would agree with you on the private property issue.

    On another note police officers do not have to respect property rights weve seen that time and again.

  18. #18 |  SusanK | 

    Bob Dylan is scruffy-looking, even when he is cleaned up. The cops weren’t going to believe he was looking at a house for sale when he looks like he can’t afford one.
    The cops thought they were harassing/helping/whatever some poor schmuck no one would ever care about. Probably thought they’d get a good laugh out of driving the “superstar” to the hotel to find his “entourage.” Boy were they disappointed.

  19. #19 |  Roberto | 

    Maybe the Jersey police are still pissed off about “Hurricane”.

  20. #20 |  David Chesler | 

    “Also, if someone walks up to my door, I expect them to have some reason to then ring the doorbell and wait in a civilized manner for me to open it. ”

    How are they going to get to your door without trespassing?

  21. #21 |  Zargon | 

    Seems to me it’s not trespassing until the owner (or his agent) tells you to leave and you refuse.

    #16
    Would you actually want “Well, i was walking around the guy’s house, looking in the windows… when I saw what appeared to be drug paraphanalia on the coffee table. So I busted in and made the arrest” to hold up in court?

    You don’t think it already will? I mean, shit, they can shoot you and get off with excuses so lame you wouldn’t expect a 6-year old to try them (“uhhhh, I thought the coke in his hand was a gun”).

  22. #22 |  Bob | 

    #20, David Chester:

    “Also, if someone walks up to my door, I expect them to have some reason to then ring the doorbell and wait in a civilized manner for me to open it. ”

    How are they going to get to your door without trespassing?

    Quoting from the SAME post you did:
    “….I own a house, and I have the expectation of both ‘privacy’ and ‘reasonable use’. I expect people to not walk up and peer into my windows to ‘look inside’ outside of some emergency. Also, if someone walks up to my door, I expect them to have some reason to then ring the doorbell and wait in a civilized manner for me to open it.”

    OBVIOUSLY, walking up to the front door is ‘reasonable use’ of my property. There’s a nice bush lined path and everything. I even have a conveniently placed button near the door that alerts me via something called a ‘doorbell’.

    I don’t know what amazes me more, that I felt it so likely that some pedantic nitpicker would point that out that I felt the need to contain explanatory language in my post, or that you skipped right past that and posted anyway.

  23. #23 |  thorn | 

    How are they going to get to your door without trespassing?

    David, don’t write like a smartassed 7th grader. You knew damned well what he meant.

  24. #24 |  David Chesler | 

    My point is that just as a path and a doorbell are an invitation to walk on the path and press the doorbell, a “For Sale” sign is an invitation (or if you prefer, it is a reasonable use) to take a look around the outside of the house. Neither is a “legally recognized status”.

    You can’t say “Bob Dylan was on somebody else’s property, end of story” (paraphrase of “If you stay on the sidewalk (or other public area) it’s fine. But once you go onto private property, it’s called ‘Trespassing’. You should have an Agent with you”) while at the same time recognizing there are indeed times when someone would be on someone else’s property without an explicit, personal invitation.

    As a city boy I was surprised to learn that in most places the default condition is that walking on someone else’s unposted land is not trespassing.

    Five minutes on FindLaw tells me that NJ follows the usual rule about trespassing, there has to be notice. See NJ statutes 2C:18-3 http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=26861886&Depth=2&TD=WRAP&advquery=trespass&depth=4&expandheadings=on&headingswithhits=on&hitsperheading=on&infobase=statutes.nfo&rank=&record={1761}&softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42&wordsaroundhits=2&x=43&y=10&zz=
    “A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given” (and 3 means of giving notice [Actual notice, posting, or fencing] are listed.) Subsection C is “peering”, Peeping Tom, and is about invading privacy. Subsection D is defenses, one of which is reasonable belief that the owner would have licensed him to be there or peer therein.

    What is the point of having a sign on the property, that would be seen by people near enough to immediately look at the house (instead of people at a real estate office looking through a book) if not to invite people to take a closer look?

  25. #25 |  10 Dylan links from 2009 « Bob Dylan-Visions of Dylan | 

    […] Brrap Pack 4.Dylan paves way for future sonic tonic performers 5.Dylan Over-rated/under-rated 6.More on the odd Bob Dylan incident 7.Is Dylan better than The Beatles? 8.Rating Bob Dylan-from start to now 9.Together Through Life […]

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