Officers set up fan club to nab deadbeat parents - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Officers set up fan club to nab deadbeat parents

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The Lee County Sheriff's Department came up with a creative way to arrest parents who have failed to pay child support.

Authorities set up a phony fan organization, which sent out letters to various residents in the county who are not paying child support.

 The letters told them they had won tickets to this year's Iron Bowl contest between Auburn and Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  They were invited to a huge tailgate party Friday where they could pick up their tickets. Investigators called their sting: Operation Iron Snare.

The officers, clad in Auburn and Alabama gear, were waiting at this ‘tailgate party,' even applauding the so-called winners when they entered the building. 

When the deadbeat parents arrived, they had to show a driver's license to win their ticket, but then the tables turned.  They were cuffed.

After their arrests, the parents were taken by bus to the Lee County Sheriff's office to meet with a court administrator.

They had a choice to pay either a percentage of what they owe to their children or stay in jail until they saw a judge.

"We have totaled it up and so far, the arrests equaled to about $250,000 in child support. We want to send a message: ‘If you don't pay child support we are going to get you one way or another,'" said Major Tommy Carter, Lee County Sheriff's Office.

The Lee County Sheriff's office says Operation Iron Snare was such a success that they are planning on doing it again, but this time they will have to come up with something even more creative than tickets to the Iron Bowl.

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