Sample of this magazine
By Gus Burns
Some readers of “Mugshot Magazine,” a new publication available at some Saginaw and Bay county retailers featuring the faces of Great Lakes Bay Region criminals, aren’t cheering its contents.
The owner, a 46-year-old Saginaw man, said he uses an alias when doing business because of death threats.
He said that as he delivered a stack of his second edition of the tabloid-sized newspapers featuring jail photos of convicted criminals to a convenience store, the owner told him to watch his back: A group of men wanted to kill him.
Mug shots include sex offenders, drunken drivers, armed robbers and more. Not all are recent offenders. Copies sell for $1 apiece.
“This magazine’s controversial, and I know it,” said the owner, a musician, graphic artist and now publisher. “I know exactly what I’m doing here.”
The man refused to share his true name with The Saginaw News and said his business isn’t licensed in the city, nor has his company filed “doing business as” paperwork with Saginaw County.
The magazine is “not a bad idea” because it “lets people know who’s out there,” said Saginaw County Undersheriff Robert X. Karl, whose agency supplies the pictures. Karl also declined to reveal the owner’s identity.
Devoid of ads, the most recent edition is filled with headshots of criminals organized by ZIP code. Scattered within its 12 pages are a few short articles. The owner said he got the idea from similar publications he spotted while traveling.
“It’s not my brainchild,” he said.
“We’re all free to request this information,” the businessman said, but people “don’t take the time to request it or look it up.”
Page 3 of Volume 2 is dedicated to _____, 30, of Swan Creek Township, sentenced in March for indecent exposure in a sex act with a car wash vacuum Oct. 16, 2008, in Thomas Township. _____, unaware his story had returned to the public eye, said the magazine doesn’t “sound like a good idea.”
The magazine debuted in July, selling 3,500 of 10,000 printed copies. Volume 2 hit news stands last week; about 5,000 have sold so far.
“The first issue was kind of a shock to the system,” the owner said. “They’ve really started to take off.”
The magazine is for sale at privately owned convenience stores mostly in Saginaw, along with locations in Saginaw and Bridgeport townships and Bay City — about 30 places in all.
“I’m not trying to target just the stores with bulletproof glass in them,” the publisher said, adding he intends to market through chain gas stations and 7-Eleven stores once popularity increases.
“People love it,” said Kim A. Cox, 45, a manager at Fast Lane Drive-Thru, 1200 State in Saginaw, a top seller of the magazine.
Cox has received only one complaint, she said, from the aunt of a sex offender whose mugshot appeared within.
"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)