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They're Burglars, Not Hagglers

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The black market just isn't what it used to be. Maybe inflation or interest rates are to blame. Or maybe today's criminals are just better at doing meth than math. Whatever the reason, it's hard not to be embarrassed for the supposed "career criminals" who sold Boise Police officers stolen goods at rock-bottom prices over the last 14 months.

In a federally funded sting known as "Operation Refund," officers from the BPD BANDIT task force, Garden City and Meridian police set up a phony business that paid cash for illicit booty, both in a storefront and in secretly arranged meetings. All told, according to a department release, officers recovered $103,035 worth of items, including 18 automobiles, five guns, 11 drug purchases and 79 phony ATM cards, for the piddly cost of $24,516. Over that span, 32 people have been nabbed for grand theft, possession of stolen property and other related charges. That's all well and good, and the 23 percent drop in burglary stats that the department says happened in 2006 is gravy, but ... what's the point of stealing something if you're going to sell it at a 75 percent markdown? When you arrestees (go to www.boisepolice.org for a complete list) get out of the clink, maybe you should think about a new career. You could be a dental hygienist, maybe. Or a court reporter--you know, like that one who sat in the corner while you were being arraigned? That didn't look so bad, did it? And according to Sally Struthers, you can even train from home. Doesn't that sound nice?