** News Release **
Anonymous citizens offer $5K reward in political vandalism cases
Some Wichita citizens who wish to remain anonymous have jointly offered a $5,000 reward through Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of those involved in two separate incidents of vandalism that targeted candidates in last month’s Wichita City Council elections.
On January 8, 2013, Wichita Third District City Council Member James Clendenin was driving with his family in their 1997 Chevy Suburban when he felt and heard a suspicious sound coming from the front of his vehicle. Mr. Clendenin immediately stopped the car and discovered four of the six bolts holding the vehicle’s passenger front wheel had been sheared off. The lug nut on a fifth bolt was missing, and the sixth lug nut was very loose. Mr. Clendenin spoke with the company that had replaced his tires approximately three months earlier and was told that if they had failed to secure the lug nuts properly the wheel would have come loose in approximately fifty miles of travel. Due to the time period between the servicing of his vehicle and the incident, that possibility was ruled out.
“Because the campaign for the Third District was heating up, there is no doubt in my mind someone intentionally placed my family and me in danger,” said Clendenin. Clendenin contact Wichita Police about the incident but did not file a written report.
In another incident, on April 1, Wichita Fourth District City Council Candidate Joshua Blick reports someone vandalized his home, one of his vehicles and several campaign signs with spray paint, causing several hundred dollars in property damage.
Mr. Blick reported the damage, consisted of large “Xs” spray painted on the windows and siding of his home, on the windows of his vehicle and on several of his campaign signs. One of the signs was a large campaign sign near the intersection of Kellogg and Maize Road. In addition, a brick was thrown through the windshield of his vehicle.
“While such dirty campaign tactics may be commonplace in larger cities across our country, we want to stop such tactics from growing in our community,” said the donors. “This type of criminal activity has no place in any political campaign, regardless where that campaign is held. We hope someone with knowledge of these two incidents will step forward and report them anonymously,” the donors said.
“The money used to fund the reward comes from the anonymous donors and not from the Crime Stoppers reward fund,” said Crime Stoppers Executive Director Gordon Bassham. “The donors feel Crime Stoppers is the appropriate vehicle to help local law enforcement solve these crimes.”
To report these or any felony crime, tips must be anonymous. Tipsters should either call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 316-267-2111, submit a text message tip via their cell phone by texting TIP217 then their message to CRIMES (274637), or by submitting a tip online at www.wsccs.com.
All tips are anonymous and no one will ever ask the tipster’s name.
Crime Stoppers is a division of the non-profit Wichita Crime Commission.
** News Release **
How Crime Stoppers takes and processes tips
Late on the morning of Thursday, May 2, 2013 Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County received an anonymous phone tip regarding possible suspects in the homicide of Mr. Jordan Turner. Mr. Turner’s body was found near 127th Street East and Pawnee on May 1, 2013.
As a result of this case, there is growing interest in how tips to Crime Stoppers tips are processed, and how rewards are paid if a tip leads to an arrest.
“All tips to Crime Stoppers are always anonymous, said Crime Stoppers Executive Director Gordon Bassham. “Tips are either phoned in to 316-267-2111, sent by text message to CRIMES (274637), or entered on the Crime Stoppers Website, www.wsccs.com. When each tip is received, the tipster is given a tip number since Crime Stoppers never asks the name of the person providing the tip. Special software strips all phone calls and text messages of Caller ID information, and the IP address of the computer from which the tip was sent. Each tip, regardless how it is received, receives this individualized number.”
Bassham said tipsters are then told to periodically check back with Crime Stoppers about the status of their tip using only their tip number. If that tip results in an arrest, information about the case then is presented to the Crime Stoppers Advisory Committee at its monthly meeting. At each meeting, the committee reviews all tips and determines the amount of the reward to be paid for each separate tip.
“The next time the tipster checks in with Crime Stoppers, said Bassham, “they are then told the amount of their reward and asked to go to a local bank at a specific time on a specific date where they claim their reward in cash. All rewards are paid in cash in order to protect the anonymity of the tipster.”
However, not all rewards are collected, Bassham said.
“For instance, in 2010, the Crime Stoppers Advisory Committee approved rewards totaling $8,350, yet only $5,580 in rewards were claimed. In 2011, approved rewards totaled $3,325 while only $425 in rewards were claimed. In 2012, the committee approved rewards totaling $9,055, yet only $1,585 of that amount was claimed.
“We feel most people call Crime Stoppers to report information on crimes and criminals because they want to make our community safer and more secure,” said Bassham.
“It is very heartening to know that so many people in Sedgwick County clearly understand the need to help put bad people behind bars.”
Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County is a division of the non-profit Wichita Crime Commission. It was founded in June, 1980.