Readers, writers, fugitives: It's a real Daily News story

They don't call us the People Paper for nothing. Here's a quintessential Daily News story:

There's this fugitive. His photo is prominently displayed on Aug. 17 in the "Week's Most Wanted" column.

An eagle-eyed Daily News reader recognizes him, and last week tips off the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force to where they can find him.

But the fugitive is also a faithful Daily News reader: Just two weeks earlier, he had a letter published on the newspaper's Opinion page.

Now, the fugitive - Lamont Ricketts, 59, of Girard Avenue near 41st Street - is in custody.

Ricketts' eight months on the lam ended about noon last Friday at the North American Motor Inn, on City Line Avenue near Belmont, after he heard a knock on the door.

"Police!" shouted cops, bursting into his hotel room followed by deputy marshals, state troopers and state parole agents on the task force.

Ricketts had been relaxing, as he had been doing for several weeks at the hotel.

"He was not surprised," said Jim Burke, supervisor of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. "He was aware he was wanted."

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound West Philadelphia man was taken into custody on two arrest warrants.

"A small child was in the room with him," Burke added. The child's mother returned about 10-15 minutes later.

Burke said that Ricketts was on parole for manslaughter and robbery when he was charged - but not arrested - on Dec. 17, 2008, with assault and as a felon in possession of a firearm.

The new assault charges automatically triggered a state parole violation and another arrest warrant, said Burke. Ricketts' two warrants made him a priority fugitive for the task force.

Now, about Ricketts' Aug. 3 letter to the Daily News.

He was writing in response to comments about race from another letter writer - apparently Syreeta Anderson, of Philadelphia, who penned an angry July 14 missive about racism at a suburban swim club. He wrote:

"The answer to Syreeta's question is: After 500 years of bondage, there's a whole lot of black Americans who are descendants of white Americans. So it's still white-on-black crime. A frustration from being judged by the color of the slave and not the whiteness of the character."

The People Paper clearly is a full-service newspaper - whether for fugitives, tipsters or cops.