FBI begins flashing world's largest mugshots

FBI’s Times Square criminal billboard one of 1,500 across US

FBI Times Square mugshot
The FBI said it will today begin flashing criminal's mugshots on an electronic billboard amongst the dazzling light show that is Times Square in New York City. 

The digital billboard is part of the FBI successful nationwide effort to nab criminals by splashing their mugshots on over 1,500 public screens in 40 states for millions of citizens to see.  At least 30 cases have been solved as a direct result of digital billboard publicity, and many others have been solved through the Bureau's overall publicity efforts that included the billboards, the FBI stated. 

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The FBI cites a few cases where billboards made a difference: 

  • In Tennessee, a man committed more than 10 robberies in six states during a two-week spree. Billboards launched throughout the region resulted in the identification and ultimate arrest of Chad Schaffner.
  • In Virginia, Richard Franklin Wiggins, Jr. was arrested for money laundering and other crimes just three weeks after his image appeared on digital billboards. He reportedly turned himself in at the insistence of his family and friends.
  • In New Mexico, Filbert Romero was a juvenile wanted for bank robbery. A photograph from the robbery was posted on billboards around the area. Romero's mother-driving with her son in the car-saw a billboard and her son's picture. He turned himself in that day.

The FBI announced the Times Square initiative on the NBC "The Today Show," as the faces of three fugitives wanted for crimes in the New York region flashed across the 30- by 40-foot screen and were seen by millions of television viewers, the FBI stated. 

The FBI began its digital billboard initiative in 2007, when Clear Channel approached us with the idea of using its billboards to help catch criminals, rescue kidnap victims, and provide high-priority security messages. Since then, three other organizations have joined the partnership-Adams Outdoor, Lamar Advertising and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia. 

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