In 1949, a crime reporter looking for a way to fill a column published the nation’s ten worst criminals as classified by the FBI: two accused murderers, four escaped convicts, a bank robber, and three “confidence men.” In addition to the stark black and white photos that accompanied the article, the public was most moved by the idea that law enforcement was asking them for help. Fired up by the gesture of confidence, Americans banded together to wholeheartedly support the motion, leading to tips that helped facilitate the capture of the advertised criminals. Some of those on the list even surrendered voluntarily due to the increased publicity. The rogues’ gallery showcases fugitives such as: • William Raymond Nesbit, first on the list to be captured • James Earl Ray, assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. • Ted Bundy, ruthless serial killer • Ruth Eisemann-Schier, kidnapper and first woman to make the Top Ten • Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, 1993 World Trade Center bomber This encyclopedia includes criminals’ photographs, crime details, and “interesting fugitive facts” as well as a brief history of the list and what it has accomplished in more than fifty years.
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