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Police Set Up Fake Business, Nab Suspects With Offer of Free TV

PICAYUNE, Miss. (AP) -- Several suspected drug dealers were arrested this week after Picayune police officers lured them to a staged warehouse with the offer of a free big screen television.

Police orchestrated Monday's sting by sending out flyers to the suspects telling them they had won a free big screen television. Officers also placed a fake ad for the "store" in the newspaper and dressed up the building where the arrests took place to look like a legitimate business.

Police set out the bait and began reeling in the victims before noon. By midday, nine suspects had fallen into the trap and were taken into custody.

"We just got together and tried to think of an innovative way to go after the dealer and put them where they belong -- out of business," Picayune Police Chief Jim Luke said.

Luke set up the fake business with the name GTD Factory Outlet, the GTD standing for "Get the Dealer."

Lieutenant Joel Hudson said the operation worked even better than expected, with several of the suspects wanting publicity.

"We had several that were excited and called to ask if they would be in the newspaper or on TV," he said. "We told them, "yes," you'll definitely be in the paper and maybe on TV."

In all, 16 suspects received mailings and more than half had been arrested by noon.

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