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The hunt for Christopher Dorner: Do reward offers help or hinder?

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“Every day that Dorner is loose … an attack on either a uniformed police officer or a family of a police officer is likely,” Beck said at a press conference on Sunday. “That's why we rush to make this offer.”

As in the Dorner case, law enforcement agencies offer large rewards for high-profile criminals. Currently the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list includes rewards ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

The highest reward offered for a domestic fugitive – $2 million – was for James “Whitey” Bulger, a former Boston gangster who had been on the run since 1996.

He was arrested June 22, 2011, two days after the FBI had unleashed a nationwide publicity campaign that led to a tip about his whereabouts. Mr. Bulger’s trial is scheduled to begin in Boston in June. He is charged in connection with 19 murders.

A spokesman for the FBI in Boston said the office would not comment on Mr. Bulger’s case, but a Boston Globe investigative story reported that Anna Bjornsdottir, a former Miss Iceland 1974 and Bulger’s onetime neighbor in Santa Monica, Calif., received the reward.

In Bulger’s case, Fox says the publicity helped because the case was not fresh.

“If there hadn’t been a reward, would she have stayed silent?” he asks. “I can’t say it never works, but typically doesn’t do much good.”

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