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Robert and Catherine Pierce in a 2009 file photo. (MARK LEFFINGWELL)
Topless gardener in Colorado probed in threat to president
First Published Mar 28 2013 12:08 pm • Last Updated Mar 28 2013 12:08 pm

BOULDER, Colo. • The U.S. Secret Service investigated a report over the weekend that a Boulder couple, including a woman involved in a topless-gardening dispute three years ago, made threats against President Obama while eating in an Ohio restaurant.

Police in Marblehead, Ohio, detained Robert Dale Pierce and Catharine Marie Pierce on Saturday after receiving a call that Robert Pierce had said he was going to "kill Obama and take him down," according to a police report.

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A disassembled rifle and ammunition were found in the Pierces’ car, according to police.

Catharine Pierce is known in Boulder for gardening topless outside her Cherry Avenue home.

Boulder Housing Partners, which owns the home, threatened to evict the Pierces in 2010, but backed off after the Boulder City Council determined it would not make it a crime to be topless outdoors.

Boulder police occasionally have received complaints about Catharine Pierce’s activity, but say she is not breaking any laws.

However, there are signs of a new eviction attempt. A court summons was taped to the door of the Pierces’ home Wednesday after Boulder Housing Partners on March 20 filed a "forcible entry and detainer" case against the couple in Boulder County Court. Such cases generally are filed by the owners of a property when a tenant refuses to leave.

The Ohio police report said the Secret Service was contacted and that the Pierces were detained so that they could be interviewed by agents. A spokesperson for the Secret Service could not be reached Wednesday afternoon and the current status of the case is unclear.

Robert Pierce told officers that he is the illegitimate son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and, according to the police report, he had documents in the car that appeared to support that claim.

The police report said dispatchers received a call from Avery’s Restaurant regarding a man and a woman who were behaving in an "unstable" way and who said they were going to Washington, D.C., to "set some things straight."


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According to the police report, several staff members at the restaurant said Catharine Pierce had grown up in Marblehead.

The Pierces gave police permission to search their vehicle, which they said was a rental from Colorado, the report said. According to the police report, the Pierces had a disassembled 0.22-caliber rifle in the trunk. It did not have a trigger, but was loaded with a hollow-point round in the chamber. Police also found 0.22- and 0.38-caliber ammunition and several bottles of Oxycodone, a painkiller prescribed to Catharine Pierce.

According to the report, a small container with suspected marijuana seeds was found in Robert Pierce’s pocket.

Robert and Catharine Pierce could not be reached Wednesday.



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