At the Academy Awards this year, Willie Fulgear donned a top hat and received a hero's welcome. Now the 61-year-old junk dealer who reportedly found 52 stolen Oscar statuettes in a grocery store dumpster [see Waste Age, May 2000, page 46] has a lot of explaining to do. In October, Los Angeles police arrested Fulgear's brother, 54-year-old John Harris, in connection with the theft, and investigators say the search for culprits continues.
A trucker, who pleaded no contest in June to grand theft charges in the Oscar case, will begin serving a six-month jail term in December. But the trucker's employer, Akron, Ohio-based Roadway Express, which paid Fulgear a $50,000 finder's reward, may have trouble recovering the money if Fulgear is charged. Two months after the Oscars telecast, Fulgear reported that someone broke into his home and stole $40,000 of the reward money, giving new meaning to the adage, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Sources: Associated Press and Reuters