Harve Jacobs, Channel 5
After years in Charleston, Harve Jacobs doesn’t have to look for stories. “Many times the stories come to me,” he says. “They tip me off.” He’s chased after Charleston’s most wanted and deadbeat dads. He’s had bullets flying over his head and slummed it in Peruvian dive hotels. We asked Harve to tell us about his most notorious stories.
1) Harve Jacobs, The Shocked Perp
After questions arose a few years ago about whether the police could subdue a man with a Taser gun, Jacobs saw a story idea.
“I wanted to test the weapon out for myself,” he says. Jacobs shopped the idea around to local law enforcement, but no one would do it because of liability issues. The Dorchester Sheriff’s Office finally agreed, telling him, “We’ll even sell tickets.”
After getting the interviews out of the way, Jacobs stood in front of a gym mat and watched as the two prongs came at him, piercing the sweater he was wearing. His cameraman captured the whole thing. “I told him, ‘Keep shooting, no matter what happens to me.”
What happened was Jacobs got a 50,000 volt shock. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt for four or five seconds.”
2) Harve Jacobs, The Best Man
In ’96 or ’97 (again, he’s been around a while), Jacobs was called into his boss’s office. A former coworker had sent a commercial from Cincinnati advertising a mail-order bride company, Christina’s International Introductions. “He told me, ‘I want you to go get that story, no matter where you have to go in the world.”
The story took Jacobs to the jungles of Peru, where an Oklahoma man was marrying his mail-order bride. She knew only three words of English: “I love Bob.” Jacobs was even asked to be the best man, since Bob didn’t know anybody else there. During the jungle ceremony, the power kept going out as the “Blue Danube” waltz substituted for the wedding march. The girls in the jungle community were pretty and hopeful for these men to take them away from it all. “One of them wrote me twice, but I wasn’t interested,” Jacobs says.
3) Harve Jacobs, The Negotiator
It was 6 a.m. when Jacobs got a call from the spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. A man was holding his mother hostage in their home and he said he’d only talk to Jacobs. “This is stuff a reporter dreams of,” he says. “To be in the middle of something like that.” For the man, Jacobs was a familiar face, one he trusted. His concern? “He was afraid of the food in the jail,” Jacobs says. After assuring him that the food would be good enough, the man gave up and wound up serving three years. —Greg Hambrick