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By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Sep 06, 2008 @ 07:07 AM

A bald man earned a place online when he stole $450 worth of razor blades from a Star Market in Quincy. The dark-haired woman wearing sunglasses and a white tank-top got her face on the Web site when she stole a credit card at the Moose Club in Braintree and used it in Weymouth.
And an "unidentified heavyset female" wound up among the Mass Most Wanted when she tried to shop at a Walgreens in Quincy with stolen identification and personal checks she stole from someone in Bridgewater.
All three are among the latest criminals featured on MassMostWanted.org, a virtual bulletin board of the state's frauds, burglars and thieves.


Founded in 2002 as a way for local police to help catch bank robbers, the site has since grown to help police snare any unknown crook they catch on camera.
When they don't wind up behind bars, their mugs end up online, where hundreds of police and correctional officers, parole and probation workers and private citizens log on each day to help catch criminals.
About 4,000 different people visit the site each week to see fresh faces posted online by local detectives, said webmaster Leo Hoban, a lieutenant with the Westwood police.
The site works under the premise that bank robbers and credit card thieves typically have criminal records and are known by police somewhere, Hoban said. They will typically operate outside their hometown, going to a town where their face is unfamiliar.
So when detectives post their pictures online, they are betting that someone in Massachusetts knows them.
"All it really takes to convince a detective (to post to the site) is to get him to clear a case without having to do any real work," Hoban said.
As of Aug. 19, there were 2,919 different files posted on MassMostWanted, with 761 captures recorded.
Hoban said more suspects have likely been caught, but detectives are more diligent about posting pictures than they are about reporting their captures.
The site has been especially popular on the South Shore because the region's police departments have had success catching or identifying suspects, Hoban said.
Of the 96 South Shore suspects posted on Mass Most Wanted since January, 15 have been captured or identified.
Last week, a photo posted on the site helped police identify Thomas J. Ronan, 26, of 294 Union St.,Weymouth, who was sought in connection with armed robberies in Whitman, Brockton and East Bridgewater.
With more eyes on the site, the number will likely rise, Hoban said.

Weekly visits: 7,000
Visitors: 4,000
Suspects posted: 2,919
Suspects caught: 761

Braintree Police Detective David Clark said he has used the site several times and with some success. Clark said he and detectives from several towns were able to link a string of laptop thefts in March 2007 to the same person, Reginald Shepherd, based on the Web postings.
"It helps you figure out that you're dealing with the same people, who are in other cities," Clark said. "If the right person looks at it, it could be helpful."

About Mass Most Wanted
The site was created in June of 2002 to help identify unknown suspects criminals. It is a service of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, a consortium of 39 law enforcement agencies in the southwest metropolitan Boston area.
The webmaster is Lt. Leo Hoban of the Westwood Police Department, and the site is also maintained by Deputy Chief William Brooks, Detective Peter McLaughlin and police officer Chris Fritts of the Wellesley Police Department.
The site is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Bankers Association, with editing software paid by Target stores.

http://www.patriotledger.com/homepage/x690583420/MassMostWanted-is-a-virtual-bulletin-board-of-crime
 
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