Reality TV star turned fugitive Connor Smith arrested thanks to FOX 32 viewers

A reality TV star from Orland Park who had been on the run for over a year is now in jail, thanks in part to the viewers of FOX 32 Chicago.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office had been searching for Connor Smith for more than a year.

Smith had been evading authorities since February 2023. Then, just last month, FOX 32 Chicago aired a special report about the nationwide manhunt.

Following the broadcast, the Lake County Sheriff's Office and law enforcement in Florida received numerous tips, including one that led to Smith's arrest in Clearwater ten days later.

Smith faces three felony counts, including traveling to meet a minor.

On February 9, 2023, police stated that Smith drove from Orland Park to a shopping mall in Lake County to meet who he thought was an underage girl for a sexual encounter.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office credited FOX 32 viewers with aiding in Smith's capture.

"Following the story that aired here on FOX 32 Chicago regarding Connor Smith, the Lake County Sheriff's Office here in Illinois received a number of tips, and Florida authorities received a number of tips too because we put out there at that time that we believe it's possible he was in Florida as he had some ties to Florida. So Pinellas County received a tip that he might be at a specific location. Sure enough, they located him there and took him into custody," said Chris Covelli, Deputy Chief of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

At his court appearance on Wednesday, a judge ordered Smith held until a detention hearing on Thursday.

In 2015, Smith appeared on the MTV show "Are You the One?"