Florida cops use poker in hopes of catching criminals

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has announced plans to distribute decks of cards to prison inmates displaying information on 52 victims whose murders or disappearances remain unsolved. Prisoners will be rewarded up to $1,000 for providing information to local authorities, who are hoping to solve over 250 cold cases in the county, some of which date back 40 years. The playing cards will also include instructions on how to play poker and a list of the best possible hands in descending order.

"Who knows better where and who these criminals are than the people they deal with, the other criminals," said Wayne Cross of Heartland Crime Stoppers.

Palm Beach police will distribute up to 3,000 decks of playing cards to about 2,500 inmates in the coming months.

Palm Beach is not the first county to introduce the program. Last year, Polk County, just east of Tampa, Florida, initiated the program with the help of Cross, who reports the county arrested two murder suspects and four fugitive thanks to tips generated from the playing decks. Cross said other counties across the United States have expressed interest in introducing similar fact-finding programs.

The idea was borrowed from the U.S. Army, which distributed playing cards to its soldiers bearing the identities of 52 of Iraq’s most wanted fugitives following the Army’s invasion.

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