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A Personal Ad From Uncle Sam - But Don’t Look for Response

May 6, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Uncle Sam took out a personal ad Friday, but the person being sought probably won’t answer.

The in-search-of-someone style advertisement in USA Today seeks Richard Lee Bratton. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says Bratton, a fugitive since 1988, was indicted in Spokane, Wash., for being armed during a drug- trafficking crime and for illegally manufacturing methamphetamine.

ATF spokesman John Killorin said Bratton is the first of 24 fugitives who will be featured in advertisements in the nationally circulated paper.

″We picked people who have been gone a long time″ and who committed serious crimes, Killorin said. ″This gives us an opportunity to have people help us find them.″

The government’s version of a personal ad ran near a notice from an attractive German woman seeking a U.S. partner to ″share the best of both worlds″ and one from a tall, handsome M.D. looking for a ″lovely lady″ for romance and happiness.

Bratton’s droopy moustache and unsmiling face are prominently displayed under the heading, ″Wanted by ATF.″

The small print in the rest of the ad describes Bratton (52 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes) and explains why the government is so interested. It invites tipsters to call 1-800-ATF-GUNS.

The newspaper provided space for the ads after the bureau chose USA Today to advertise the proposed sale or destruction of seized property and other actions that require public notice.

The government program hopes to share the success of television shows such as ″America’s Most Wanted,″ which have led to the capture of dozens of felons.

″We’ll be very excited to get some of these folks,″ Killorin said.

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