When Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory urged residents to help find the area’s 50 most-wanted criminals, crime reporter Deborah Dixon of WKRC-TV tracked down mug shots of fugitives in the area, taped them to a wheel the station rented at a party shop, and the “Wheel of Justice” was born, reports USA Today. The 6 a.m. Wednesday segment is so popular it has attracted the eye of at least one fugitive on the wheel. Officers said Lonnie Chenault told them as they arrested him he had watched the wheel spin. Chenault, 43, a convicted sex offender wanted for failing to register with the sheriff’s office, is one of 19 people who have been arrested after 17 spins of the wheel in as many weeks. “It’s CrimeStoppers, game-show style,” said Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Nick Schibi.
Mug shots of the fugitives – mostly sex offenders and drug dealers – are placed on the wheel. A $500 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest of the person where the wheel clicker stops. Anonymity is offered for tipsters. Three fugitives turned themselves in after simply hearing their mugs had appeared on the wheel. Dixon, who has been covering crime for the station for 32 years, is surprised at the segment’s popularity. “It’s not cool. It’s not hip. It’s not a ratings grabber. It was just a way to get people to look up,” she said. A handful of CrimeStoppers segments use a similar approach, but none exactly like Cincinnati’s, said Richard Carter of CrimeStoppers International.