Wheel of Misfortune makes a comeback on WQAD; original host becomes first guest spinner

MOLINE-- For the first time in almost 20 years, WQAD Channel 8 and Crime Stoppers are bringing back a case solving tool that took the Quad Cities by storm.

You may remember this segment from back in the 90's. Once a week, Detective Rick Ryckeghem from Crime Stoppers would spin the Wheel of Misfortune. Every spot was a picture of the Quad Cities most wanted criminals.

The reward money for tips that led to the capture of each misfortunate criminal picked would be doubled for that week. It was a simple concept with an 85-percent success rate.

We couldn't bring back the wheel without the help of the original host, Rick Ryckeghem. News Eight's Elizabeth Wadas sat down with him to learn where the original concept came from.

"Still to this day I have people come up and say weren't you the Crime Stoppers guy? You're the Wheel of Misfortune, yeah, we love that show!" says retired Detective Rick Ryckeghem.

Almost two decades ago, it took this detective, a simple concept and an audience to put the Quad Cities most wanted behind bars.

"If your picture popped up on it, you were probably going to end up in jail later," says Ryckeghem.

The creator himself says he's lucky his face didn't land on it too.

"Because I stole the idea."

The detective and Wheel of Misfortune personality got the idea from a different police department.

"I actually committed a theft because it was an idea a guy in Texas had."

He took the stolen goods back to the Quad Cities.

"It was simple. It was just a matter of you happened to be watching the news or wherever we ran it, and all you had to do if you knew the guy, you called," says Ryckeghem.

From there the tips came rolling in. People got paid to help police catch the bad guys.

"We probably captured or arrested 85-percent of the people who were on it."

Every now and then new faces would pop up with guest spinners. But there was always one constant, the trusty host who gave his all to his craft and his community.

"It's one of my fondest memories of the police department. It's what I joined the police department to do, to help the community and this was, I thought, an amazing way to do it," says Ryckeghem.

So with a salute from the pro, the Wheel of Misfortune makes a Quad Cities come back. Now all we need is help from you.

"Pay attention. Watch it. You'd be surprised the amount of people you know at some level that have a warrant," says Ryckeghem.

The Wheel of Misfortune will air every Wednesday on WQAD News 8 at 5 and 10.

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