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Deputies use checks to attract fugitives

Aug. 18, 2008 at 1:12 PM

CHICAGO, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Sheriff's deputies in Cook County, Ill., say they used the promise of federal economic stimulus checks to draw several dozen wanted fugitives out into the open.

The Chicago-area sheriff's office said it sent more than 5,000 letters to people with outstanding warrants for drunken driving, robbery, burglary and other crimes promising stimulus checks if they visited a store on the Southwest Side of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

However, those who showed up were instead put in handcuffs by deputies participating in "Operation Rebate and Switch." Deputies said 66 people were arrested.

"We homed in on what is probably people's prevailing motivator at times, which is greed," Sheriff Tom Dart said.

He said deputies posed as receptionists, clerks and customers at the dummy "Tax Recovery Experts Inc." office during the operation, which he said took about three weeks to plan.

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