LAST CALL: Caught red-faced, but not red-handed

We all know how pushy - and irritating - local TV news promos can be. Well take heart, here's one that backfired.

The news producers at WXYZ, Detroit's ABC affiliate, got wind of sticky-fingered Detroit cops who were misappropriating Christmas presents packaged for needy kids.

So station technicians rigged a package with a tracking bug in the hopes of following it to the blue-uniformed thieves' den and catching them red-handed.

The trouble was, the cops who handled this particular package dutifully presented it to a needy kid. When the youngster opened it and didn't find the contents promised by the cover, he took it back to the copshop. It didn't take the real Sherlocks long to figure out who was trying to get whom, so they tipped off local print journalists - who have no love for TV news - to the unsprung trap.

Needless to say, the papers had a field day poking fun at the TV station.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the station's news director, only on the job a month, didn't return PRWeek's call for his side of the story.

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