Authorities crack down on homeless sex offenders in Fort Lauderdale

Many offenders living in places they are not registered in, police say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale police launched a special operation that has led to numerous arrests, authorities announced on Tuesday.

Police said nearly two dozen transient or homeless sex offenders and sexual predators are now in custody after investigators said they did not check in with law enforcement as they're required to do.

The crackdown was a joint operation with Fort Lauderdale police, U.S. marshals and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Authorities issued warrants for transient offenders who failed to do their required monthly check-in and were not where they initially claimed to be.

Authorities said they arrested some suspects out of state and some who were living in other cities or in neighborhoods where they were not registered.

The issue is one Local 10 News highlighted a couple weeks ago in a report about dozens of transient sex offenders or predators who were using intersections near local shopping centers and stores as their registered address.

It's something that is legally allowed, because homeless offenders have to give authorities a general location of where they stay.

The problem is that police said some offenders use the transient label to hide their real location from authorities. 

"Some of these sex offenders are playing this transient game, because they can register transient at an intersection in Fort Lauderdale but live in other areas of the county," Barry Golden, of the U.S. Marshals Service, said. "That address might not be compliant. So it gives them the freedom to move around the county and basically not be monitored."

U.S. marshals said finding transient offenders is a big issue and so far, Fort Lauderdale is the only jurisdiction partnering with them to track down those who don't register.

The operation is ongoing and there are at least 12 more warrants for offenders who authorities are still trying to find.

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