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Publisher Helps Pursue Fugitives in Paper Chase

Crime: 'Regular guy' financing local version of newspaper with wanted posters, missing persons.

January 12, 1997|GEOFF BOUCHER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There are 58 Crusader papers across the country, the largest of them the Garden State Crusader in New Jersey, with a circulation of 30,000. The founder of the chain, Ken Donovan of Tampa, said Orange County has long been a target for expansion because of its population base and crime rates.

Donovan said Myers was selected from half a dozen prospective publishers in the area, and plans are underway to start a separate Los Angeles edition. The only other California edition is a year-old effort in San Diego.

"The formula works everywhere and we're very impressed with Larry's efforts so far," Donovan said. "It works because all these [fugitives] still have to get jobs, they still have to go shopping and buy gas. Unless they go completely underground, they are out there and being seen by somebody."

The Orange County Crusader's circulation hovers around 20,000, but Myers said he'd like to reach 100,000 in the months to come. That lofty goal takes a back seat to Myers' short-term focus, though.

"I'm waiting for the first tip that leads to an arrest," Myers said as he scanned the mug shots in his second issue. "That's going to be great, really satisfying. That's the thing I want to see."

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