11-25-2005, 08:22 AM #1
'Wanted' Billboards Cropping Up Across U.S.
CINCINNATI - Wanted posters offering rewards for Jesse James and other outlaws were a common sight in America's Old West. Now a modern twist on that idea is showing up increasingly across the country: wanted billboards.
Many of the billboards, which typically include a suspect's photo or a sketch drawn from witness descriptions, have resulted in tips leading to an arrest.
Eight of the 10 suspects shown on billboards in the Kansas City, Mo., area have been arrested, seven of them because of the billboards, authorities say.
And police in Passaic, N.J., say a billboard was instrumental in catching a man charged in the stabbing death of a police officer's son.
"This is an idea that is working fabulously," said Lt. James Wood, leader of the Major Crimes Unit of the Passaic County prosecutor's office.
A high-profile supporter of the billboards is John Walsh, host of Fox's "America's Most Wanted."
"We reach a lot of people through television, but billboards are seen daily and serve as a constant reminder," said Walsh, whose 6-year-old son was kidnapped and murdered in Florida 24 years ago.
But the billboards raise concerns for Marc Mezibov, a defense attorney in Cincinnati, where the city's first went up recently.
"If a client's face and name were posted on billboards ascribing some horrendous crime to him, I would certainly raise issues with the court about whether he could receive a fair trial," he said, adding that he might request the trial be moved.
Tips from one of the billboards in Kansas City led to the arrest of a man in the 2002 slaying of 19-year-old Ali Kemp. Roger Kemp, who found his daughter's body at the swimming pool where she worked, said the idea came to him while driving.
"I was looking at billboards one day and thought, 'Why not try that since so many people drive by them every day?'" Kemp said.
He asked Lamar Advertising Co. about renting a billboard, but the company offered to donate one to post a suspect sketch and hot line number for anonymous tips. Some billboards also include reward information.
Police were somewhat hesitant at first.
"We thought a generic sketch could create false leads," said Sgt. Craig Sarver, coordinator of the Crime Stoppers program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.
The billboard was so successful, however, that other area law enforcement agencies have been calling to get photos of their fugitives put on billboards, Sarver said.
11-25-2005, 08:25 AM #2
Finally! A good reason to have those horrid looking billboards littering the side of highways!
11-25-2005, 12:11 PM #3
I think it's a GREAT idea and I hope more states will start doing this.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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11-25-2005, 02:30 PM #4
I am so glad they are doing this.Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........
Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?
"Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight
11-25-2005, 02:56 PM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
Great idea!! I think the biggest factor criminals have in their favor is "ignorance" of the general public - people just don't know about them.
11-25-2005, 03:55 PM #6
Yeah ... the biggest boo boo in St. Charles out here was this guy running for political office who had two wives ... right here, in town!!!
What a dork!
Like someone wouldn't recognize his billboard!!!
Billboards are more powerful than people think!