This year we profiled 47 different cases on Chicago's Most Wanted and twelve of the suspects in those cases have been arrested.
And what is a tribute to the cooperation between you, the viewers, FOX Chicago and the FBI is that half of the Most Wanted arrests were a direct result of your tips.
Now Robert Grant, the head of the Chicago FBI office, is expressing thanks for viewers who knew something and said something this year.
“Vehicles such as your show give viewers an opportunity to listen to what it is we are looking to help us make their community safer, so it does not surprise me,” said Grant.
The result of the show: six of Chicago's Most Wanted were captured. The list includes two drug suspects and four bank bandits, including two serial robbers the Cub Fan Bandit suspected in three cases, and the Spring Cleaning Bandit connected to four. All now face prison time.
In addition, bank robberies are down significantly this year; only 111 compared to 181 in 2010. The FBI credits, in part, the deterrent ability of technology.
“Not only is the security for protecting the bank better, but the video quality that we're getting on bank robbers is a much high resolution 24 so we can get that information out very quickly and people identify them, so I'd say that's a contributing factor to the decline,” said Grant.
Looking ahead the FBI is listing Cory Frierson as the top fugitive for capture in 2012. He was one of three men suspected in a dangerous bank robbery in Country Club Hills two years ago.... two co-defendants have been captured.
“[Frierson] was the primary planner of the operation, they used Uzi sub machineguns in the operation, and then he fled. He has been stopped on one occasion in Mississippi, but he fled on foot. He's vowed through members of the community and his family not to be taken alive and if he has to, he will take the life of a police officer. So he's very dangerous,” said Grant.
Weight loss doctor Gautum Gupta is the number two priority for 2012. He operated clinics across the state and is accused of scamming insurance companies out of more than $20 million through fraudulent claims.
“That's $20 million that people who pay insurance, people who pay taxes, people who pay Medicare, Medicaid to support those programs; ultimately it comes out of their pocket. It's not just some large organization that loses money, ultimately the losses in health care are passed on to the consumers and beneficiaries of programs,” said Grant.
Prime perpetrators number three: the Beverly Bandits. They are two men responsible for a high risk holdup back in August at the First American Bank at 118th and Western Avenues.
One of the most notorious bank robbers in the Chicagoland area, the Wheaton Bandit, beat the statute of limitations and now can't be charged with any of the sixteen holdups he's suspected of committing. But the FBI is not ready to give up.
“The Wheaton Bandit in particular is frustrating to us. But I'm confident that if he robbed before, he'll rob again and eventually we will catch up with him,” said Grant.
So a big thanks to our viewers for their help this year making the streets of Chicagoland that much safer, and reminding crooks that crime does not pay.