CRIME: Tough Customers

Early autumn with frost in the air—just before the shooting season opens—is a busy time at Dakin's sporting goods and hardware store on Central Street in the quiet little city of Bangor, Me. Proprietor Everett ("Shep") Hurd would not have been at all surprised one day last month when three undersized young men bought two .45 Colt automatics and a generous supply of ammunition, except for one fact.

All three wore city clothes and they talked in a kind of English that sounded strange to Maine ears.

When the men left, after ordering...