FBI Little Rock
Public Affairs Specialist Deb Green
(501) 221-9100
March 3, 2015

FBI Celebrates Anniversary of Top Ten Program

The FBI announced today the FBI’s celebration of its famous Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program, created 65 years ago. In 1949, a reporter for the International News Service (the predecessor to United Press International) approached the FBI and asked about writing a story about the “toughest guys” being sought by the FBI at the time. The Bureau provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives to the reporter. The resulting feature became a major story and garnered national attention. In response to the overwhelming public interest, on March 14, 1950, then-Director J. Edgar Hoover inaugurated the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program.

Since then, the FBI, through the Top Ten list, has been asking for help from the public to locate its most dangerous fugitives. The response has been impressive. Since 1950, 504 fugitives have appeared on the list; 473 have been apprehended or located, with 156 of those fugitives located as a direct result of citizen cooperation.

The FBI Little Rock Field Office has added 10 fugitives to the Top Ten list. John Harry Allen was the first fugitive from Federal Bureau of Investigation, Little Rock FBI Field Office (FBI LRFO) to be placed on the list on September 7, 1954 for robbery. He was captured on December 21, 1954. Leslie Isben Rogge was the last fugitive from the FBI LRFO to be placed on the list on January 24, 1990, for bank robbery and fraud by wire. He was captured on May 18, 1996. Currently, FBI LRFO has no fugitives on the Top Ten list.

As the nature of crime and FBI priorities has evolved over the years, the makeup of the Top Ten list has also changed. While the list began by featuring bank robbers and murder suspects fleeing state jurisdiction, it has evolved into a tool to search for major organized crime figures, cyber criminals, child predators, and white-collar criminals. The list also reflects the international scope of crime which emphasizes the importance of strong global partnerships in the search for violent criminals who know no boundaries and pose a significant danger to all.

Just as the composition of the list of Top Ten fugitives has changed over the years, the ways in which the FBI communicates with the public have also been revolutionized by technological advancements. While the publication of fugitive information via newspapers and magazines initially brought broader participation to the program, the FBI now uses the Internet, television, social media, and digital billboards as it continues to seek the public’s assistance in locating wanted fugitives.

The FBI places a high priority on the fugitive investigations represented on the list. At a minimum, a reward of up to $100,000 is offered by the FBI for information leading directly to the arrest of a Top Ten fugitive. In some instances, the reward amount offered exceeds $100,000. That reporter’s idea, so many years ago, to form a partnership among law enforcement, the media, and the citizens of the world, continues to prove beneficial today. As the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program celebrates 65 years of success, the expectation is that it will continue to empower citizens across the country and around the world to safely and effectively assist law enforcement for years to come.

Information about today’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list can be found on the Internet, television, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, cell phone applications, and digital billboards. As technology continues to advance and innovative applications surface, the FBI intends to utilize all the tools available to publicize fugitives and engage the public in helping to locate them. More information about the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list is available on the FBI’s Internet page at www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten.