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09-25-1995John Popper arraignment on weapons charges

Blues Traveler Singer Signs Autographs After Arraignment
(AP) Following his arraignment on weapons charges, the lead singer of Blues Traveler signed autographs and praised the police.

"I love this country, and the police did a great job," John C. Popper said Thursday following a brief appearance in Municipal Court in this central New Jersey township. Popper's lawyer, Robert Cosgrove, told the judge that Popper, 28, intended to plead innocent.

But Judge Paul Catanese took no plea, saying that the weapons charges, being indictable offenses, were being turned over to the Middlesex County prosecutor's office. Two motor vehicle citations would also be handled by the county prosecutor, the judge said.

The prosecutor's office is to decide whether the case would be presented to a grand jury.

The burly Popper, who lives in nearby Princeton, was allowed to remain free without bail.

Popper, a harmonica-playing singer, was arrested Sept. 13 after police found hollow-point bullets and a dagger in his car, police said.

Police pulled over Popper's Jeep Grand Cherokee after noticing Popper had an expired inspection sticker and asked to search after discovering he had a mounted siren and loudspeaker typical of police equipment, police said. Popper consented. The weapons were confiscated, and Popper was also charged with having an expired vehicle registration.

"I had no idea the bullets were illegal," Popper said Thursday, before his lawyer intervened. "It was stupid on my part."

Blues Traveler, a rock band known for extended improvisational jams characterized by Popper's distinctive harmonica, had a top 10 hit with its recent single "Run-Around."

Popper could face 18 months in jail if convicted, though a prison term is unlikely for a fourth-degree offense.