Melbourne police have purchased lottery tickets to hand out with traffic violations on Christmas Day. / FLORIDA TODAY
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Motorists caught speeding to grandma's house in Melbourne were greeted with a bittersweet Christmas Day surprise as officers doled out warnings and tickets alongside scratch-off lottery games.
The unique move was an added touch Melbourne police officers wanted to put on the normally quiet holiday traffic.
By 1 p.m. Christmas Day, more than 30 scratch-off game tickets were handed out to speeders and other traffic violators in a bid to spread holiday cheer while keeping the roads safe, police say.
"We're just doing a little bit of a different technique," said Sgt. Jamie Rocque. "When we pull the motorists over, we're also giving them the scratch-off tickets that the officers bought with their own personal funds. It's something good to do in light of the holidays. We're getting a lot of surprised looks...people don't know what to say."
The road patrols are concentrated along the Wickham Road commercial corridor, a roadway that has had a number of traffic crashes in recent weeks. Officers are also checking for tinted windows and other violations. Christmas Day traffic also seems a little heavier than normal, Rocque said.
"There are no special operations, but we are basically doing road patrol because we have to keep the streets safe," he said.
It was not immediately known if any of the game tickets were big winners.
"I don't know, but we wish them well," Rocque said.