Fort Lauderdale police are pretty good anglers, especially when they have free federal stimulus money as the bait.
South Florida fugitives were the mice and stimulus checks were the irresistible cheese as 77 people with outstanding warrants were lured to the War Memorial Auditorium to pick up their not-so-free money. The fugitives arrived with letters in hand promising hundreds of dollars, but left with a brand new set of shiny bracelets on their wrists.
"Operation Show Me the Money" rounded up criminals of all kind, including 10 people with warrants for violent crimes. One guy had a warrant for second-degree murder but skipped out on his bail years ago. They also seized cash, drugs and a gun.
The ruse was so convincing and enticing that one person caught in the dragnet was still trying to get his stimulus check, even as he stood before an arraignment judge.
"Can I get my stimulus check?" asked Anthony Stephens, who was wanted for having an expired tag.
"Oh, yeah if you are getting arrested, then you should get the check," the judge laughed. "Sir, don't fall for that stimulus thing anymore alright."