County’s Most Wanted list available online

Carolyn Fertig

Helps catch fugitives wanted for felonies

The idea of the America’s Most Wanted list arose during a game of Hearts between William Kinsey Hutchinson, editor of the International News Service, and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. On March 14, 1950, the FBI officially announced the list that would help catch dangerous fugitives.

Since then, many wanted lists have been created, including the Portage County Most Wanted list. The Portage County list is on the sheriff’s Web site and displays the mug shots and charges of local fugitives on the run.

For example, 33-year-old Nicole L. Hayes, had warrants out for her arrest for attempted possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Within two days of the list posting, she was turned into the Sheriff’s office.

The Portage County Most Wanted List is a tool that can be used to track people down with outstanding warrants, Portage County Sheriff David Doak said.

“The list is not printed in a newspaper weekly, so this is a way that people can go online and see who has outstanding warrants,” Doak said.

The sheriff’s office uses different formulas to decide who will make the list and who will not. It is the combination of how long the warrant has been outstanding and the nature of the crime, however all crimes on the list will be felonies, said detective Trent Springer of the warrant department.

“The list can have people on it that have warrants for sexual crimes, burglary, robbery and even criminal non-support,” Springer said. “We will push forward and add someone to the list of it is a crime of violence, a serious charge, or of pressing nature. We have never had to put a murder warrant on the list because we have been quite fortunate that we have reached that person before they disappeared.”

The list is updated every two weeks. If someone is not found within the two-week period, he or she will be taken off and replaced with another set of names. Sometimes a person could show up on the wanted list two to three times before they are caught.

“We like to rotate the names and pictures off the list. If we leave a name on there for too long, people will get bored and may stop looking at the list,” Springer said.

It is important to know that if someone sees one of the people on the most wanted lists to be sure not try and apprehend them themselves. If someone sees on the fugitives he or she should call local law enforcement, university police or the sheriff’s office, Doak said.

The wanted list is just one thing that both Portage and Summit counties have on their sheriff’s Web sites. Both sites also offer online access to registered sex offender lists in the counties.

In Portage County, citizens can call the sheriff’s office to report a tip about a wanted criminal anonymously. The warrant department follows up on many of the tips and takes each tip seriously, Springer said.

In Summit County, a person can call Crime Stoppers to leave a tip anonymously as well. The difference is if a person gives a tip about a fugitive that leads to the arrest and indictment of that person, depending on the severity of the warrant, the anonymous person could receive an award of up to $2,000, Peak said.

When someone gets apprehended, another mug shot will fill his or her spot. There are plenty of warrants that will keep this list going, Springer said.

Contact public affairs reporter Carolyn Fertig at [email protected].