Sixty years ago, what started as a reporters question about the profiles of the America’s touchest suspcts is now the FBI’s ‘Top Ten Most Wanted’ list. The request sparked national interest which led then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to launch the fugives program.
The list became part of American society when it showed up on post office and bank walls. Times have changed and it’s not surprising to see the list on billboards, Facebook or Twitter.
Who decides which fugitive goes on the list? Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at FBI headquarters calls on over 50 Field Offices to submit candidates.
What is the criteria? A long list of serious crimes and a being a menace to society. Plus, will the publicity from the list get the help needed to arrest the fugivites? The names are taken off the list after they are captured, they no longer fit the criteria or the fedearl process against them is dismissed.
A minimum reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of suspects in the list. Osama Bin Laden tops the current list with as much as a $25 million bounty. James Bulger, believed to be the leader of a Boston crime family called the Winter Hill Gang, comes in second with $2 million.
Surprsingly, eight women have appeared on the list. The first woman was Ruth Eisemann-Schier. She was arrested for kidnapping-for-ransom.
The first man on the list was Thomas J. Holden, who was arrested for killing his wife and two brothers as well robbing banks.
Donald Eugene Webb was on the list the longest–over 25 years. He killed a police chief.
The oldest person placed on the list was 69 in 1999 and is still on the list: James “Whitey” Bigler, Boston mobster.
California has the most from the top ten at 55.
Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, has none.
494 fugitives have been on the list–463 have been caught. over 150 were caught due to public help. A reward of 100,000 is offered for imformation directly leading to an arrest.