What is MassMostWanted?
The MassMostWanted.org web site was created in June of 2002 to aid in the identification of unknown subjects by disseminating photographs taken during crimes. Although we receive some mug shots of subjects whose identities are known, and occasionally receive artists' sketches, we are designed for the posting of surveillance images.
Who runs MassMostWanted?
MassMostWanted is a service of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, or Metro-LEC. The Metro-LEC is a consortium of 39 law enforcement agencies in the southwest metropolitan Boston area established to promote greater public safety by improving coordination, exchanging resources and providing support services to its member agencies.
The MassMostWanted webmaster is Lt. Leo Hoban of the Westwood Police
Department. Communications Officer Brian Kamp of
the Westwood Police Department maintains the site. Westwood
is a member of the Metro-LEC.
Who pays for the MassMostWanted web site?
Initially, the Wellesley and Westwood Police Departments paid all costs associated with the web site. In 2004, the site underwent an upgrade paid by a grant from the Massachusetts Bankers Association. Mass Bankers continues to financially support our site. Target stores gave us a grant to upgrade the software we use for editing photos and video through their "Target & Blue" program in 2009.
How should I use the site?
Used properly, MassMostWanted is a site that you should visit often, but spend very little time on. If you are visiting for the first time, take a look at the subjects whose photos appear on the front page. Flip to the second page by clicking on the right arrow or the next page number at the top right of the screen. Each page of the site contains fifteen thumbnail photographs of unidentified subjects. The type of crime the subject has committed is always listed with each photograph, along with a case number assigned to the case by the MassMostWanted staff
The top row of the front page always contains the most recent cases. If you go to the web site and the front page has not changed since the last time you checked it, exit the site and go about your business. All changes are reflected on the front page.
We encourage law enforcement officers to check the front page of the site each day. In fact, many detectives have made it their home page so they remember to look at it each morning. We also encourage bank managers and security officers to check the site daily, for information about bank robbers working their area. You can make this site your home page by clicking on the "Make MMW My Home Page" button.
How do I find out more about a case I see posted?
To view a larger version of the photograph or to learn more about the crime, simply click on the thumbnail. Each case page contains the type of offense, date, and city or town where the crime occurred. You will also see the subject's physical description, a summary of the crime, and the name and telephone number of the detective or agent investigating the case.
What if I see a thumbnail of someone I recognize?
Each case posting bears the telephone number of the police officer or federal agent handling the investigation. You may either call him or her, or you can send an email by clicking on Report a Tip in the Toolbox. All emails go directly to the investigating officer or agent.
I see someone I think I recognize but need a second opinion.
Click on the thumbnail to select a larger photo and more information about the case. Click on Mail This Case to a Friend and type your friend's email address in the box.
How do I check a specific crime category?
Click on the Type of Crime drop-down and select from the list. The site will display photos of subjects who have committed the type of crime you have selected.
Does MassMostWanted accept mug shots of wanted persons?
The site is designed primarily for the identification of unknown subjects. We do not post composites. We post photos of wanted fugitives ONLY in cases of violent crimes, and those photos are posted only on the Fugitives page, not on the front page. However, all new postings, including those of known fugitives, are emailed to people who subscribe to the site.
Can I check the site for people fitting a particular description?
Yes. Using the drop-downs on the left of the screen, select the complexion, height, build and gender you wish and then click Begin Search. You can also use the Type of Crime choices to define your search even more. For instance, if you are a police officer who has just arrested a heavy-set white woman for robbing a bank, search by the appropriate Type of Crime, Build, Complexion and Gender to see if you can spot her robbing other banks previous to your arrest.
Are rewards offered to people who identify a criminal on the site?
In some cases, yes. Each bank robbery posting contains information about the Mass Most Wanted TIP program funded by the Massachusetts Bankers Association and the Worcester County Fraudulent Check Association. The program makes payments available to citizens who assist in the identification of a subject who robs a Massachusetts bank. If you recognize a bank robber and he or she is arrested as a result of your tip, you should ask the investigating detective or FBI agent to recommend you for a payment from the Mass Most Wanted TIP program.
Can anyone submit a case to the MassMostWanted web site?
No. The MassMostWanted webmasters will accept surveillance photographs of unidentified subjects only from a Massachusetts or Federal law enforcement agency, or from a banking institution conducting an investigation in conjunction with a law enforcement agency. Cases are screened prior to being posted.
I am a law enforcement officer and want to submit a case.
First, you will need a digital image taken of the subject committing the crime, preferably in either JPEG or JPG format. Them click on Submit a Case at the top of the page. Simply follow the instructions. Include information that may assist in the identification of the subject, such as a scar that may not show up on the photo, but do not include sensitive information about the subject or incident, such as language used in a robbery note, that may jeopardize the investigation or cause the subject to alter his modus operandi. If the subject was armed, or if the crime was particularly violent, a line urging caution should be included.
I am a law enforcement officer who posted a case on the web site and now the subject has been arrested. Should I do anything further?
We ask officers who submit cases to promptly notify us if an arrest is made. Locate your case on the web site and click on it. In the Law Enforcement Only area, click on Report a capture and fill in the information about the arrest. If your department does not permit you to report the subject's name, leave that box blank. Captured subjects are left on the site and are marked captured. We leave the photos of captured subjects because it allows detectives to link old cases to recently identified subjects.
I am a law enforcement officer who posted a case, and now have additional information that needs to be posted on the web site.
Locate your case on the web site and click on it. In the Law Enforcement Only area, click on Send an Update.
What does Booking Room Print View on the front page mean?
Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to post photos from the MassMostWanted web site in their booking rooms and cell blocks, in hopes that someone being booked will recognize one of them. Use the drop-downs to narrow your search and then click on Booking Room Print View. For instance, make a poster of bank robbers wanted in eastern Massachusetts.
Can I see pages of people who have already been identified?
Yes, click on Captures at the top of any page.
I've been using the MassMostWanted web site since its inception. What else changed with the recent upgrade?
All cases now show a case number. This was necessitated due to the sheer volume of cases we receive. Use the case number whenever referring people to your case on the site.
I see a photo on MassMostWanted and want to use it in my newscast or newspaper article. Do I need explicit permission?
Once the photos at Mass Most Wanted are posted, they are in the public domain. They may be used for any lawful purpose. We appreciate getting copies or notifications of any particularly interesting or new uses for the photographs.
There is now a type of crime under thefts called "Organized Retail Theft." What does that mean?
Organized retail theft is a catagory we added to deal with gangs involved in high volume shoplifting and other retail fraud.