THE "DAMN air conditioners" were causing Jimmy Binns' Shore house to vibrate all summer, the colorful Philadelphia criminal-defense lawyer said, and he'd had enough.
Binns, 72, insisted that he'd tried for months to reason with his neighbor on Amherst Avenue in Margate. He even got lawyers to pore over property records, he said, to prove that the man's annoying units were somehow on his property and ruining an otherwise peaceful existence by the bay.
That didn't work, Binns said, so he handled the situation in an old-school and entirely legal way. Legal in his opinion, at least.
"I just hired a guy and said, 'Go down there, disconnect those things. I don't gave a s--- where he puts them; they ain't gonna be on my property," Binns said last night by phone as he ate fried shrimp at the Irish Pub, in Atlantic City.
Binns was in handcuffs yesterday morning - for the first time ever, he said - after that neighbor and a few Margate police officers disagreed with Binns over the legality of cutting off the air conditioners. Police said that Binns was charged with criminal mischief stemming from a property dispute with a neighbor, was released on his own recognizance and is due in court Jan. 9. The neighbor could not be reached for comment. Binns said that he'll be vindicated in no time.
"I thought it was kind of cute," he said of being arrested. "If I had it to do over again, I'd do the exact same thing. I guarantee that charge will be dropped."
Jimmy Binns is tight with Philly and Margate cops. He founded Philadelphia's hero-cop plaque program, which has honored 283 Philly cops with plaques at the locations where they died. Binns also has expanded the program to the surrounding suburbs and New Jersey, including two plaques in Margate, according to his website.
"I'll be riding with them next week," he said of Margate's department.
Binns has donated 39 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the Philadelphia Police Department's Highway Patrol and Traffic units and is chairman of the Hero Thrill Show, an event that raises money for the kids of fallen cops. Binns also has done legal work for the Fraternal Order of Police, but gave it up once he became chairman of the Thrill Show, said FOP President John McNesby.
"He does a hell of a lot for the families," McNesby said.
McNesby said that when he spoke with Binns last night by phone, Binns was at the famous pub just off the boardwalk and jokingly answered by saying "Convict Number 6745 here."
"I said, 'What do you want me to do, bail you out?' " McNesby said. "It's kind of funny. I find it amusing that they arrested him. From what I get, he didn't really do much of anything wrong."
Lt. Ray Evers, Philly police spokesman, said that he notified Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the incident and that "if it's something serious, we'll look into it."