“We don’t want your name, just your information.”
That line on Crime Stoppers announcements has been heard many times since the local organization started in 1984, but not everyone understands it. The nonprofit organization accepts anonymous tips for information about crimes. Information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward.
Just don’t misuse the Crime Stoppers name, said Shannon Witting and Jere Buehler from the Barton County and Great Bend Crime Stoppers Board of Directors.
Last fall, after vandalism occurred at Golden Belt Cinema 6, a social media site offered a $250 reward, encouraging anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers. But Crime Stoppers does not announce specific reward amounts, and a person who tried to collect that reward might be disappointed. Even worse, that person might contact the business or another third party and somehow become identified, Buehler said.
“We’re not going to take information and we’re not going to give a reward unless it is anonymous,” he said.
“If you want to work with Crime Stoppers, you must contact the board. Call Crime Stoppers and say you want to talk to a board member.”
Crime Stoppers rarely publicizes or sets a reward amount in advance, Buehler added. The only exception was the $1,000 reward offered for information in a double homicide that remains unsolved to this day. On Sept. 4, 2002, Mandi Alexander, 24, and Mary Drake, 79, were killed inside the Dolly Madison bakery outlet store at 1004 Harrison St.
The Crime Stoppers name was also incorrectly combined with another program in a recent “Kansas Missing & Unsolved” post. That information, about the unsolved 1987 murder of Roberta Klotz in Great Bend, suggested:
“If you have any information about this case, please contact Crimestoppers (sic) 888-305-1300 or 620-792-1300.”
People with information about a crime can certainly call Crime Stoppers, the board members said. But the next words on that post were off the mark. It claimed, “There is a combined reward of $6,000 being offered. $1,000 from Crimestoppers and $5,000 from the Governor’s reward fund.”
The Crime Stoppers board never specified a reward amount for the Klotz case, Buehler said. Combining Crime Stoppers with the Governor’s reward fund also creates a problem, since the two operate by different rules.
If someone calls Crime Stoppers to give information, that person is assigned a number. The caller can later call back to see if a reward is due. The cash reward is left in an envelope at a local bank, and the tipster is told how to collect it using the secret number.
That doesn’t mean that community support is unwelcome, Wittig said.
“We’ll be glad to take donations,” she said, noting Crime Stoppers is an all-volunteer effort and relies on donations. “Without the community involvement, we wouldn’t have a Crime Stoppers program.”
As always, anyone with information about a crime may call Crime Stoppers. The telephone number is 620-792-1300, or for toll-free calls outside of Great Bend call 888-305-1300.
This story was updated on March 16 to correct the name Roberta Klotz.