Most Wanted Fugitives in Florida

You’re probably familiar with the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, which according to the FBI has been around since March 14, 1950. It all started when a curious reporter asked the FBI for “the names and descriptions of the ‘toughest guys’ the Bureau would like to capture,” according to the FBI.

That reporter back in 1950 was on to something. The story was hot and generated so much publicity that the FBI’s Director at the time, J. Edgar Hoover, decided to implement the infamous program we know today – the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.” The rest is history. The first fugitive to land on the list was Thomas James Holden, who was wanted for murdering his wife, along with his own brother and stepbrother.

Since the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list was created, 515 fugitives have landed on the list. Of those, 483 have been located or captured, according to the FBI. Here are some interesting facts about the 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list:

  • Citizen cooperation has aided in the capture of 161 fugitives.
  • Two fugitives were captured directly because of visitors who toured the FBI.
  • In 1969, Billy Austin Bryant was on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list for only two hours – that’s the shortest in history.
  • Victor Manuel Gerena was on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list for more than 32 years – the longest in history.
  • At 77-years-old, William Bradford Bishop, Jr. was the oldest person to land on the list. He was added in April of 2014.

(Source: FBI)

The Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program was founded by the FBI in 1950. The publicity-funded program works in conjunction with the news media. The purpose of the program is to use the news media to gain public attention so tipsters can call in and provide critical information that would otherwise be inaccessible to state and federal law enforcement agencies. So, what types of people are wanted by the FBI? According to the United States Department of Justice, they include:

Most Wanted in Florida & Hillsborough County

In addition to the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service has what it coined the 15 Most Wanted List. It also created a list of the 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders. Some of the sex crimes on this list include strong arm rape of a child, first degree rape, aggravated sexual assault of a child (5 counts), rape (7 counts), and indecency with a child (2 counts).

The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service aren’t the only agencies with a Most Wanted list. Florida has a list of most wanted fugitives as well, some of whom are wanted for DUI Manslaughter. Other fugitives can be found on Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay. On Crime Stoppers, some of the fugitives are wanted for aggravated assault, felony domestic battery, aggravated battery, manslaughter with a weapon, first degree murder premeditated with a weapon, and trafficking in illegal drugs to name a few.

Here in Tampa, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office maintains a registry of Deadbeat Parents, Dangerous Drivers, and Top 10 Most Wanted on its page called "Find a Fugitive."¬†On this Find-a-Fugitive web feature, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office advises concerned citizens, aka “tipsters” to do the following if they have any information that could lead to the apprehension of a fugitive: 1) call 911, 2) call the Sheriff’s Office, 3) email their anonymous tip, or 4) call Crime Stoppers with their tip.

What about you? Are you on one of these Most Wanted lists? If so, you need a hard-hitting defense now. Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to get started.

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