Scofflaws, beware. The Worthington police are coming for you.

Scofflaws, beware. The Worthington police are coming for you.

The department has launched Operation Orion, designed to bring to justice people who have been arrested in Worthington on misdemeanor charges but did not show up at court or did not pay fines or other penalties assigned by the courts.

The constellation, Orion, often is subtitled "the hunter."

The department's high-risk apprehension team already has located and taken to jail one person wanted on an old domestic-violence charge, and the list of others who are avoiding the legal system is long.

The department has determined that 370 Worthington misdemeanor warrants are on file with the Franklin County Municipal Court.

At the request of the department, the clerk's office will resume a practice of forwarding weekly updates.

The warrants go back to 1988, Police Chief James Mosic said.

"I can only imagine for a large agency the number of warrants out there," he said.

Crimes range from OVI and driving under suspension to petty theft, receiving stolen property, criminal damaging, trespassing and domestic violence.

Sometimes those facing such charges either do not appear for scheduled court appearances or do not pay fines or show up for jail or to serve other penalties.

Because the court system is so overloaded with cases, defendants believe no one will look for them. Often they are correct.

Usually, the only time wanted defendants are found is when an officer either arrests them on another charge or otherwise becomes aware of their whereabouts and enters the name into LEADS.

LEADS is designed to keep track of all defendants who are wanted, but sometimes even that system fails and the defendants walk free, Mosic said.

"It's not right that these people are not being held accountable," he said.

Now an officer assigned to light duty will spend his or her working hours tracking down names on the list.

After a defendant is found, the team of officers in marked cars will go out and find the person.

"We may show up at your home, at your place of employment or at your relative's home," he said.

In cases involving an unpaid fine, the defendant could be taken to a clerk-of-courts office to pay up.

Most times, though, he or she will be taken to the Franklin County Jail.

People who believe they might have an outstanding warrant are encouraged to check with the clerk-of- courts office to find out what they could do to schedule a court date or make good on an old fine or other pen-alty.

"If we have to pick you up, we will enforce the warrant," Mosic said.