Most times, the people who receive money from Crime Stoppers remain anonymous — even to the people awarding the money. But this week, the board of directors of the nonprofit organization gave away $500, and were able to meet the recipients.
Crime Stoppers of Barton County invited people to enter their names in a drawing last month at the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo. On Tuesday, the board announced the names of five winners. Each received a $100 Great Bend Chamber Gift Certificate.
The winners were Evelyn Hoffman from Hoisington; and Richard Bodine, Mike Harbaugh, Monte Clarke and Bob Folk, all of Great Bend.
Most of the winners came together Tuesday evening for a photo with the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors: Stan Behrends, president; Mick Lang, vice president; and J.P. Postlethwaite, secretary-treasurer, and 11 other members.
Postlethwaite said that the local Crime Stoppers program has helped law enforcement recover close to $2 million in stolen property and/or illegal drugs since it started in 1984. The tips have led to 405 arrests over the years.
In April, the board approved $450 in rewards for anonymous tips that led to four arrests, Postlethwaite said. One tip this month has already led to two more arrests. The tips helped officers make drug arrests, solve an armed robbery that took place last November in Great Bend, and find two people with outstanding warrants who were at a local motel.
How it works
People who have information about a crime committed in Barton County call Crime Stoppers, 792-1300. For toll-free calls outside of Great Bend, the telephone number is 888-305-1300. Board member Jerry Buehler said calls are answered 24/7.
“We don’t want to know who is calling,” Buehler said. In fact, if a tipster’s identity is revealed, that person is not eligible for a Crime Stoppers reward. The guarantee of anonymity, protected by law, means the person can’t be issued a subpoena.
“They’re assigned a number. If their information leads to an arrest, they call back. We can issue awards up to $1,000,” Buehler said.
If someone is eligible for a reward, they are given information on how to collect. They are instructed to go to a local bank and give someone the assigned number. The tipster is then handed an envelope with the cash reward.