WASHINGTON — Move over Bonnie and Clyde, there’s some new fugitives on the silver screen in theaters throughout the nation’s capital.
The only catch — these guys are the real thing.
Last weekend , the FBI began screening three wanted posters on about 60 screens before the traditional trailers. The campaign was hatched by the fugitive section at FBI headquarters, and will be expanded to other regions throughout the country if the pilot project is a hit.
Washington police already are fans, reporting that one of the three fugitives turned himself in Monday after learning of the trailers from a TV news report. Cornelius Smith, who was wanted in connection with a 1998 double homicide, arrived at the police station with his minister.
FBI public affairs specialist Cindy McCraw, who is stationed in the Washington field office, said the fugitives targeted are wanted by local authorities, not the feds. The idea of the program is to get the word out to neighborhoods that there may be people wanted by police in the area.
“It’s very clever,” McCraw said.
So far, the other two fugitives featured on screens in Washington and suburban Maryland and Virginia haven’t been apprehended.
This particular round of wanted posters will take a final bow on Sept. 7.
The FBI isn’t the only Washington authority using movie theaters to get the message out. Earlier this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared in a public service announcement advocating gun safety that was shown on 2,500 screens across the country.
To get their respective campaigns up and running, both the FBI and McCain used third-party advertising agencies that buy ad time before movie trailers begin.