“Wanted” billboards springing up around the nation that typically include a suspect’s photo or sketch drawn from witness descriptions have resulted in tips leading to the arrest of suspects, reports the Associated Press. Cincinnati’s first wanted billboard recently went up, seeking a suspect in a 2003 shooting death. Eight of 10 suspects shown on billboards in the Kansas City, Mo., area have been arrested, and seven of those can be traced to the billboards. Passaic, N.J., police say a billboard was instrumental in catching a man charged in the stabbing death of the son of a police officer from a nearby town. “This is an idea that is working fabulously,” said Lt. James Wood, leader of the Major Crimes Unit of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Roger Kemp, who found the battered body of his 19-year-old daughter in the pump room of the swimming pool where she worked in Kansas, said the billboard idea came to him while driving. He called Lamar Advertising Co. of Kansas City to ask about renting a billboard, but the company offered to donate one to post a suspect sketch and a hot line number for anonymous tips. Advertising companies have donated at least 14 billboards valued at about $1,500 to more than $5,000 each. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America says its member businesses have shown interest in putting up more wanted billboards. Discussions are under way for billboards in Seattle and Nashville, said the group’s Ken Klein.