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Fla. May Put Alerts on Lottery Tix

August 9, 2002

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Playing the lottery in Florida could become a way to help find abducted children.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement wants to print messages on lottery tickets similar to those put on highway signs as part of an ``Amber Alert″ system used last week to help find two California teenagers.

Printing an abduction alert on lottery tickets would allow information to be instantly handed out to the hundreds of thousands of people each day.

``That’s a tremendous outlet,″ FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore said Thursday. ``The government of Florida as an enterprise is using every bit of the asset that’s in the government to help bring kids home safe.″

The ``Amber Alert″ program, which aggressively publicizes child abductions through broadcast bulletins and other means, is named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped and killed in 1996. Today, there are 41 programs across the country, credited with recovering at least 19 children since 1997.

In California implemented the alerts statewide after the abduction and killing of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion last month. In addition to bulletins issued to broadcasters, the alerts there are posted on freeway emergency signs that flash a description of the stolen car and its license plate number.

Florida is implementing a similar highway system as well as the lottery alert, which Moore said no other state has developed.

On Aug. 1, the California alert was credited with helping rescue two girls, age 16 and 17, who had been kidnapped in Los Angeles County. Their abductor was shot to death after he aimed a gun at deputies as they closed in.

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On the Net:

Florida lottery: http://www.floridalottery.com

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