The "Top Ten" program is designed to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. Thomas called it an extremely important law enforcement tool and media involvement is crucial to its success.
The "Top Ten" program began from a newspaper story in late 1949. A reporter for International News Service asked the FBI for the names and descriptions of the "toughest guys" the bureau would like to capture. The story had so much appeal and generated so much positive publicity that on March 14, 1950, former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover implemented the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" program. From the time of its inception, 494 fugitives have been placed on the "Top Ten" list and 463 have been apprehended or located.
Since March 14, 1950, the Columbia Division of the FBI has apprehended seven fugitives that were placed on the "Top Ten" list.
Joseph Lloyd Thomas of Pelzer, S.C., was the first fugitive from the Columbia Division to be placed on the list, Oct. 21, 1959, for bank robbery. He was captured on Dec. 10, 1959.
Aurloeas Dame McClarty, Irmo, SC., was the last fugitive from the Columbia Division to be placed on the list, Feb. 14, 2001, for Bank Robbery. He was captured on Feb. 24, 2001.
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.
Information about today's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" 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 the "Top Ten" Fugitives and engage the public in helping to locate them. More information about the "Top Ten" Fugitives is available on the FBI's Internet home page at www.fbi.gov.