Former Aide's Arrest Surprises Friends and Colleagues

The arrest on theft charges of Claude A. Allen, who until recently was President Bush's top adviser on domestic policy, was an apparent fall from power that surprised and mystified his friends and former colleagues. Mr. Allen, who resigned from his post as an adviser to Mr. Bush last month, was arrested on Thursday in Montgomery County, Md., where the police said he had swindled department stores out of more than $5,000 during the last year in a refund scheme.

By IAN URBINA and ROBERT PEAR

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