Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Coming to a Highway Near You


by Andrea Campbell

The face of technology is changing the way the "most wanted" list is delivered. You must admit, a couple of decades ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list had a different look. According to Rex Tomb, a former chief of the FBI’s Investigative Publicity Unit, the FBI list is evolving with the times. “In the 1950’s, it was bank robbery,” Tomb says. “Now, you see bin Laden up there.”

The grainy mugshots, once the mainstay of post-office art, are being replaced with newer, more hip ways of finding the world’s worst offenders. So, yes, in 1998, after the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, Osama bin Laden made the list and changed the way we look at serious crime. Today the FBI has taken steps to employ and exploit every opportunity to get the word out on who they want the most.

Billboard lovelies

Now the FBI will be featuring top fugitives on billboards of twenty American cities including Akron, Des Moines, and Miami, and on to Newark and Los Angeles--a coast-to-coast sweep of the hottest felons at large. A billboard deal with Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. is donating the space and will give access to about 150 electronic billboards, according to FBI spokesperson Chris Allen.

Currently in Los Angeles, the face of suspect Emigdio Preciado Jr. is on display throughout the city, right along with ads selling cars and perfume on the side of highways there. Preciado is accused of the attempted murders of two sheriff’s deputies. Another suspect, Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, who was wanted for the murder of pregnant Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, was on the list, but was just recently picked up in Mexico, so his image has probably already been replaced with some other highly wanted fugitive.

America’s Most Wanted international

The popular America’s Most Wanted TV show is cementing its broadcast alliance with the FBI in that now the TV show will solicit "tips" from similar programs in countries such as Israel, Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands.

A YouTube for bad guys

In addition, the FBI now has video of the most recent sightings of some fugitives on its Top 10 Web site. Take a walk here to check it out: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/fugitives.htm

Photo success

You can’t argue with results either, because out of the 489 fugitives who had appeared on the list since 1950, 458 have been located, and at least 150 of them are off the streets because of the help from citizens like you and me. The FBI needs more eyes, more than ever, because they are hunting for approximately 12,000 fugitives at a time.

Interesting site

If you’ve never been to the FBI Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives site, you’re in for a treat. A lot of times when heinous criminals are caught, the comments from citizens are mostly that they wouldn’t have guessed that someone who looked so "normal" (the guy-next-door syndrome) could do something so atrocious. Jeffrey Dahmer's neighbors thought he was such a nice young man!

A great example of this phenomenon is with Jason Derek Brown:

JASON DEREK BROWN IS WANTED FOR MURDER AND ARMED ROBBERY IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA. DURING NOVEMBER OF 2004, BROWN ALLEGEDLY SHOT AND KILLED AN ARMORED CAR GUARD OUTSIDE A MOVIE THEATER AND THEN FLED WITH THE MONEY.

CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS

When you read his description, you may be floored:

Occupation: Golf Equipment Importer
Nationality: American
Scars and Marks: None known

Brown speaks fluent French and has a Masters Degree in International Business. He is an avid golfer, snowboarder, skier, and dirt biker. Brown enjoys being the center of attention and has been known to frequent nightclubs where he enjoys showing off his high-priced vehicles, boats, and other toys. He has been described as possibly having bisexual tendencies.

Brown has ties to California, Arizona, and Utah. In the past, he has traveled to France and Mexico. Additionally, he may be in the possession of a Glock 9mm and a .45 caliber handgun.

And take a look at James J. Bulger, who looks like someone’s grandpa:

RACKETEERING INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS (RICO) - MURDER (18 COUNTS), CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER, CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT EXTORTION, NARCOTICS DISTRIBUTION, CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MONEY LAUNDERING; EXTORTION; MONEY LAUNDERING.

These are just two of the infamous in pictures. And you know, they are probably so successful because of the way they look. But if you can get beyond the mask and help the FBI locate them, and it results in their arrest, a cool $100,000 may be your reward. Just doing my bit for the government. Now you keep your eyes open, y'all.

2 comments:

Wendy Roberts said...

Wow! Things have come a long way from hanging photos in the post office.

Rae said...

I remember the Las Vegas Police Dept. once did something similar with men who had fallen behind on their child support-a "Do You Know This Man" billboard campaign. Worked pretty good, too.

Good for the FBI-it's a good means to heighten public awareness.