The 20 Most Wanted Criminals in the 1950s

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If you’re a criminal, the last place you want to be (besides prison) is on the FBI’s notorious Most Wanted List. As this roundup of the 20 most wanted criminals of the 1950s makes clear, those who find themselves on this notorious roster tend to not stay there for very long.

The FBI introduced its iconic 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List in 1950, at the behest of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The well-publicized list brilliantly enlists the help of the general public in helping to track down the host hardened “tough guys” in America, many of whom had broken out of prison. (Though the vast majority of the criminals on this list are men, a few women have been added over the years. Here’s a look at the most brutal female criminals in history.)

To identify 20 most wanted criminals of the 1950s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information from “Ten Most Wanted History Pictures,” a report published by the FBI identifying over 500 current and former criminals who have appeared on the list, along with the circumstances of their arrests.

Since its inception, 492 of the 529 fugitives who have appeared on the Most Wanted list have been apprehended, with 163 of them identified by citizens. Many of the criminals on this list were in the first “class” of 1950; some of them were captured before the list was even published, and others managed to evade capture entirely. (These are the cities where law enforcement makes the most arrests.)

Whether they made their career as jewel thieves, bank robbers, murderers, or otherwise, these criminals were the worst of the worst, and all played their part in making it clear that, in most cases anyway, you can run but can’t hide from the long arm of the law.

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