Mounds of shoes that blocked Miami highway now bound for needy

The mysterious used shoes that littered the Palmetto Expressway, causing traffic tie-ups and a national stir last week, will soon be paired with those in need after being picked up Tuesday by an international charity.

But law enforcement authorities are still baffled about the identity of the person responsible for the freeway footwear folly.

Soles4Souls, a shoe-giving charitable organization with projects around the world, gathered up between 2,000 and 4,000 shoes from a mound near the Golden Glades interchange in North Miami-Dade County, said Wayne Elsey, founder of the Tennessee-based nonprofit.

The mound of footwear will now travel to Alabama, where the shoes will be cleaned, repaired and sorted before being sent to Haiti and elsewhere.

The charity also will donate 20,000 new shoes to local charities.

Elsey, founder of the Tennessee-based nonprofit, said he first saw the shoe-strewn Palmetto on CNN while on vacation in Orlando.

''It was pretty dramatic,'' said Elsey as workers loaded the used shoes into black trash bags and large cardboard boxes. ``You see all these shoes lying along the highway and no one knows where they came from, and the last thing I wanted was for them to show up in a landfill.''

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