INDIANAPOLIS – Crime Stoppers will take in more than 6,000 tips this year. That many tips take a lot of time and energy to follow up on - and some of the cases date back decades. We talked to one sergeant about the case he'd like to solve the most.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward in the murder of Amanda Blackburn, a pregnant pastor’s wife who was shot last week and later died.
At the same time, the agency is fielding tips on thousands of other cases.
The Crime Stoppers office is staffed by just four people, but the impact is far and wide.
“(We get tips on ) everything from a theft – burglary – all the way up to unsolved homicides,” Sgt. Steve Dubois said.
Dubois is the director of Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana, and actively works to take tips, which he calls “vital” to police investigations.
“Some of them are very important,” Sgt. Dubois said. “They would never have been solved if the tipster hadn’t called. Some of them might have been solved – but the suspect would have been out (in society) much longer.”
Dubois says in Crime Stoppers’ 30-year history, it has helped in the arrests of over 5,000 people.
The staff passes tips on to detectives – tips that come in over the phone or through the website. Crime Stoppers is phasing out texting tips, and instead is pushing its mobile app “P3 Tips.”
All tips can be given anonymously, and Sgt. Dubois says they’re committed to protecting identities.
“We've not given up a tipster in 30 years and we're not about to start now,” he said.
While they would like to solve all cases, some hit harder than others.
One of those is the murder of 11-year-old Cheryl Ann Bolin, who disappeared from Morgan County in 1975.
“I’m a father of five, so (cases like that) have a tendency to get to you,” he said.
Bolin’s remains were found a year later, but three decades after, the case has gone cold.
“If we get tips, it’ll be solved, because of the advances in cold-case homicide – forensics are unbelievable,” he said.
Just know: Even the smallest tip can make a big difference.
Crime Stoppers is on pace to take in over 6,000 tips this year. The number to call to anonymously submit whatever you know is 317-262-8477.