'Shoptastic' scam nabs Illinois fugitives

Dec. 22, 2008 at 12:16 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he used the fictional marketing outfit, "Shoptastic Solutions," to lure 61 fugitives to an Illinois hotel and arrested them.

The sheriff said by sending dozens of fugitives winning scratch-off tickets as part of his law enforcement sting, he was able to bring them together at a hotel near Chicago's Midway Airport for one bulk arrest, the Chicago Sun-Times said Monday.

Dart said the lure in this month's police scheme was a $1,000 gift card and the possibility of winning a big-screen television.

"We tried to tap into the Christmas spirit and throw a big dose of the Grinch on top of it," Dart said, referring to the famous anti-Christmas literary figure. "The Grinch definitely struck here, and the Grinch had a lot of fun. The Grinch will return, probably in a different way."

The Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald said even those fugitives who apparently were wary of the event attended anyway.

The newspaper said by using reservations made by no-show guests, police arrested an additional 169 suspects.

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Topics: Tom Dart
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