FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Greater Fort Wayne Crime Stoppers hosted a Community Day fundraiser on Saturday to raise money for the organization’s tipsters. Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization that offers cash rewards and anonymity for tips that lead to an arrest. It’s part of a national organization, but is operated by local citizens with the cooperation of city and county law enforcement, covering ten Indiana counties and three Ohio counties.
Crime Stoppers is funded entirely by tax deductible donations and grants. The fundraiser on Saturday featured chicken dinners, games for kids, and free health screenings. Admission was $10.
The local organization has given nearly $500,000 in cash to people who call in crime tips since it originated in 1983.
“We don’t arrest anyone. We take information from confidential informants and turn that over to law enforcement agencies,” Greg Lewis, executive director of Crime Stoppers, said.
Lewis said about 50 percent of tips result in arrests.
Crime Stoppers’ latest success story was on April 15 after a man was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing the owner of the Smoke House Tobacco Outlet on Lafayette Street.
Police arrested Jamel Coleman, 22, of Gary, in Indianapolis as he got off a Greyhound bus. Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said tips from the public were a critical part of the investigation.
“It’s a self-fulfilling thing,” Lewis said. “This community has always responded well to us. Not only in tips, but also in generosity.”
Tips may be called into Crime Stoppers hot lines at any time; 436-STOP or 1-800-237-STOP. All tips are anonymous and you can receive cash rewards up to $1,000.