A tip from a reader of The Washington Examiner helped U.S. Marshals Task Force members
nab a fugitive wanted in a near-fatal stabbing in Southeast Washington, the 25th such capture credited to the newspaper.
Since the weekly "Most Wanted" feature was started more than two years ago, readers have provided information that has led to arrests of convicted murderers, kidnappers, child sex offenders, rapists and scam artists.
"It's fantastic," said task force Supervisory Inspector Matthew J. Burke. "It's probably more than 25 because sometimes the stories put extra pressure on the fugitive and they make a wrong move and we catch them then."
Capture No. 25 is Lucious McLeod. On Nov. 1, McLeod stabbed an acquaintance twice in the chest and four times in the back, D.C. police said. The victim was taken to a hospital and nearly died, while McLeod went into hiding.
After McLeod's story ran Jan. 26 on The Examiner's "Crime & Punishment" page, U.S. marshals deputies received a tip that the 53-year-old D.C. man showed up at least once a week at a home on the 4600 block of Bass Place SE, possibly to sell or buy drugs, deputies said.
Sure enough, McLeod showed up at the house Thursday, the reader called D.C. police Officer Chris Coles, who's a member of the multi-agency Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. Within minutes, authorities had their man in handcuffs.
The Examiner wasn't sure the "Most Wanted" feature would work when it started in July 2008. But after three quick arrests, it appeared the paper and its loyal readers were onto something.
One of the first fugitives profiled was Derrick Arthur, who escaped from police during a wild shootout by ducking into the National Arboretum during a 2005 blizzard. Arthur dragged a hostage from a hotel, used a remote control device to start his car, and jumped behind the wheel. Officers fired at the car and one officer was injured, struck by an errant bullet.
Three years later, The Examiner ran his story and photo. A reader saw it and called authorities. Arthur didn't get away again.
Fugitives have been captured as far as way as New York. Sometimes they're arrested the morning their mug shot appears in the newspaper, like in the case of convicted sex offender Andre Stevenson.
Commuters reading the paper at a Southeast Washington bus stop saw Stevenson standing by a day care center, and kept him surrounded until police arrived.
Another fugitive was arrested after a reader showed a uniformed D.C. police officer the newspaper article and photo, pointed at the suspect and said, "There's your man, right there."