Friday, December 14, 2007


Between ads for hamburgers and liposuction, the giant digital billboards flashed an image of Oscar Finch's face taken by a surveillance camera. The young man wasn't selling anything. He was running from police.

Finch was a suspect in a bank robbery last month. More than a week after the crime, authorities obtained the photo and immediately posted it on 12 digital billboards in Mobile, using the eye-catching electronic signs as digital wanted posters.

The billboard showed a grainy mugshot of Finch taken during the November 20 heist. The image, which was mixed in with commercial ads, included his name, his alleged offense and a phone number to contact police.

The 21-year-old Finch, who was the first suspect featured on an electronic billboard in Mobile, surrendered on December 1 -- just a day after his picture appeared. Police spokeswoman Nancy Johnson said he apparently turned himself in after seeing news coverage of the billboards.

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