America’s Most Wanted dominated Fox television’s lineup in the late 1980s through the following two decades. Host John Walsh featured profiles of dangerous criminals through reenactments and interviews with witnesses and law enforcement authorities with one goal in mind — to track them down and put them behind bars. The show was a massive success for the network and was responsible for the capture of hundreds of fugitives. Read all about some of the series’ most fascinating facts here.
You might be surprised by some law enforcement agencies’ initial opinion of the show, which we’ll find out about later…
The Show Caught Its First Criminal Within Four Days Of Its Premiere
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The first episode of America’s Most Wanted aired on Feb. 7, 1988, across the United States. Just four days after the show aired, a tip from a viewer led to the arrest of suspect David James Roberts. Roberts was convicted of assaulting and slaying someone. He broke out of prison in 1986 en route to a hospital.
Following the airing of the episode, dozens of people called the program’s tip line. Many of them knew Roberts as Bob Lord, a man who worked in Staten Island at a homeless shelter. He was the first person who was caught from viewer tips and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list.