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Merle Haggard Auction Halted

May 2, 2002

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DALLAS (AP) _ An Internet auction of a Merle Haggard cassette has been halted after the country music star won a court order claiming the tape was stolen from his tour bus.

Kathy Schroeder of Fredericksburg, a concert promoter and bed-and-breakfast operator, had offered the cassette on eBay for $325,000, according to The Dallas Morning News’ Thursday editions. Information about the tape was removed from the auction Wednesday.

After Haggard’s representatives contacted eBay, the auction site confirmed that Schroeder was the seller. Haggard’s lawyers say they plan to turn the case over to law enforcement for prosecution on theft or other charges, but the first priority was to stop the possible spread of bootleg copies.

``The reason I am pursuing it is because this is obviously the nightmare we all fear,″ Haggard told the newspaper in an interview from his Northern California home. ``I had to defend myself. What’s on the tape is a rough mix of an ongoing project. It’s like she kidnapped my children.″

Schroeder did not return a telephone message from The Associated Press early Thursday. Her attorney said he couldn’t comment because he hadn’t seen a copy of the order.

Haggard, 65, said he was sick and couldn’t make an Oct. 27 show that Schroeder had arranged, but his tour bus full of musicians and substitute performers did. He said that when the bus returned to California, a cassette tape was missing that had been on board when Schroeder stopped by for a visit, one of four copies circulated among Haggard’s musician colleagues.

A May 13 hearing on the case has been scheduled in Kerrville.

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