In Colo. fugitive sting, cops say "you're mine'' with flowers

By Kirk Mitchell
Denver Post  

Northglenn - The man who answered the door was astonished, then elated that someone had sent him the white flower box tied with a red ribbon.

"Oh, somebody sent me some flowers. Who?" Terry Martinez asked, thrilled at the unexpected gift.

But the answer quickly wrenched the smile off the face of the alleged drunken driver. The box was empty, and the person posing as a delivery man from "Sweetheart Flowers" was an undercover police officer, who quickly pulled out handcuffs.

"The flowers were compliments of the Northglenn Police Department," Officer Steve Garber said later. "The look on his face was priceless."

The Valentine's Day sting was repeated time and time again Tuesday and Wednesday as four teams of officers fanned out to capture sex offenders, traffic scofflaws and petty criminals. Twenty-four arrests were made by Wednesday evening, with the sting extending into the night.

The ploy is safer for police because before a fugitive realizes what is happening, his wrists are bound in handcuffs and a cop is reading him his rights, said Northglenn police spokesman Rick Kellogg.

When the "florist" arrived with a delivery for one fugitive, the man's wife was livid and demanded to know who was sending him flowers, Garber recalled.

But the sting didn't fool another target. Berney Hoover cursed when he saw the flowers.

"'Nobody would send me flowers,"' Kellogg quoted the driver with the suspended license as saying.

Copyright 2007 Denver Post

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