Police love debuting high-tech crime-fighting tools. But in Los Angeles they're turning to a much older technology: the billboard. The department this week debuted the first of about 300 billboards slated for the next few weeks, bearing sketches of the suspects in the vicious beating of a San Francisco Giants fan on baseball's opening day last month. It's the second time this month the department has used billboards to announce rewards or identify suspects, which it has done before only very rarely.

"I've been with the department for almost 15 years and this is the first time I've seen it," said Los Angeles Police Sgt. James Provost, who works in the Northern District, where the beating took place. The billboards were donated by Lamar Advertising, which says it will donate such a billboard to any city that can be a source of information on the criminals.

The assault in the parking lot of Dodgers' Stadium last month left 42-year-old Bryan Stow in a coma and potentially brain damaged. It rocked baseball and the city of Los Angeles, and may have contributed to Frank McCourt's removal as Dodger's owner.