Sheriff Lures Fugitives With Easy Money

The promise of easy money apparently proved too tempting to some fugitives over the weekend.

With an exclamation that there were "positively no gimmicks," investigators sent letters from a fictious company, "Shoptastic Solutions," to people with outstanding warrents, offering them $500 for filling out a marketing survey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

More than 60 fugitives were arrested when they showed up at a suburban hotel to take the survey and collect the money.

"We tried to tap into people's Christmas spirit," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said, "then threw a big Grinch on top of it."

About 6,300 letters were sent to people with warrants, but many were returned because the recipients had moved. Dart said making fugitives come to police is cheaper and easier than sending police after them.

The recipient's "shopper number" on the letter was actually the number of his or her arrest warrant, Dart said.

Among those arrested was Raymond Russell, 56, of Chicago, who has allegedly failed to pay child support for 13 years and owes nearly $90,000 in back payments.

Justin Taylor, 27, of Elgin, had an outstanding warrant for driving on a revoked or suspended license, officials said. Dart said he drove to the hotel and had 2.5 grams of marijuana with him, which he allegedly told police he had planned to smoke in celebration of collecting the $500.

Not a bad return for $2,600 worth of stamps.

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