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FBI Using L.A. Billboards Again to Help Catch a Criminal

The Ray-Bandit billboard (Photo courtesy FBI/Clear Channel Outdoor)
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The FBI is getting a helping hand from Clear Channel Outdoor in the form of use of their digital billboards in L.A. and elsewhere in Southern California to post info about a dangerous fugitive.The billboards will give info about a serial bank robber nicknamed the "Ray-Bandit," so named "based on the sunglasses he’s suspected of wearing in the robberies that occurred in the Midwest," says the FBI. But he wasn't always known in California for his shades; he used to be known as the McBandit "after he was seen in bank surveillance photos carrying a paper bag from McDonalds."

The unidentified white male suspect has been linked to 14 bank heists in California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska and Virginia.

The FBI says they will put into action their "long-standing partnership between law enforcement and Clear Channel Outdoor" to "run digital ads (see illustration below) in high density areas in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities in Southern California over the next week featuring the Ray-Bandit in an effort to generate tips from the public."

Since 2007, Clear Channel has given the FBI access to more than 850 digital billboards in 38 markets around the nation. That partnership has resulted in the apprehension of 42 dangerous and violent fugitives.

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In 2008, the LAPD used a billboard to helping them capture the Grim Sleeper serial killer suspect Lonnie Franklin, Jr., who was arrested at his home near the billboard in 2010.

Unfortunately for the plight of law enforcement, 100 billboards--including a few dozen owned by Clear Channel--have been ordered to go dark.