Ozzy Osbourne has made a career out of thumbing his nose (and sometimes other appendages) at the law. The heavy-metal rocker has urinated on the Alamo, attempted to strangle his wife, and bitten the heads off a live bat and dove.
At a Fargo, N.D., concert earlier this week, the law bit back.
Without informing Osbourne, Cass County (N.D.) Sheriff Paul D. Laney used his name in a sting operation to catch local fugitives. Laney planned an Osbourne preshow concert party, offering the same perks in the rocker's "official" VIP tour packages, and mailed invites to 40 unsuspecting citizens under the alias "PDL Productions."
When the Ozzy fans showed up at the bash, Laney promptly handcuffed and arrested them on various outstanding warrants. He then held a televised press conference to congratulate himself on the successful sting operation.
"Why did we do this? The criminals are creative, so we had to get creative too,'' Laney told ABCNEWS.com "They give us fake addresses, fake phone numbers, sometimes their families cover for them, sometimes their employees cover for them."
Laney and his deputies set up the phony preparty with money seized from drug dealers.
"We used drug money to lure criminals to justice. How poetic is that?" he quipped. "We asked them to come to a preconcert party, just like those that are held at bars, taverns and what not before any event," adding that the operation was reviewed by the county's lawyers before it was undertaken.
But the 58-year-old rocker sees nothing honorable about using his name to catch criminals. He's insulted.
"Instead of holding a press conference to pat himself on the back, Sheriff Laney should be apologizing to me for using my name in connection with these arrests," Osbourne said in a statement released by his publicist. "It's insulting to me and to my audience, and it shows how lazy this particular sheriff is when it comes to doing his job."
He added, "It's obvious to me that this sheriff has an agenda and is just trying to make a name for himself on my back."
Osbourne declined to comment further through his publicist.
Laney said 36 arrests were made and 46 warrants were served at the preparty, mostly for misdemeanor and minor felonies, including failure to pay child support, failure to show up in court or pay a fine and violations of orders of protection. No violent felons were invited or apprehended, he said.
The sheriff dismissed the criticism from Osbourne, saying, "We're not trying to make a name for ourselves off [the Osbourne name]."
Laney noted that some of those apprehended even complimented his efforts, and he's proud of what he did.
"A lot were stunned, a couple were upset, but actually some of them had a pretty good sense of humor," Laney said, adding that one female fugitive laughed as he slapped the cuffs on her saying, "I got to hand it to you, you got me. You guys are pretty creative. You guys are good."