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Grandfather confronts sex offender with pipe wrench

Was upset because offender hadn't registered
Posted: 9:08 PM, Jul 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-01 21:08:40-04

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A 62-year-old man was arrested after he confronted a sex offender he knew was in violation of his registration orders.

Jeffrey Crowder said he snapped and went after Timothy Sylvester, 45, with a pipe wrench at a bus shelter outside IU Bloomington Hospital on June 24.

Sylvester has been convicted of molesting a child and Crowder has tracked Sylvester's case for the past four years. Crowder said he knew that Sylvester was in violation of Monroe County's Sex Offender Registry. 

"I just put my truck in park, left it running and jumped out and I had a pipe wrench," Crowder said.

Crowder's menacing threats drew the attention of police, and he was arrested on a felony charge of intimidation and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He appeared in court Friday.

"I said I'm not leaving. I'm not leaving until you arrest him. I told them 'either your arrest him or you take me to jail,'" Crowder said.

Sylvester, who is listed as homeless on the sex offender registry and is required to register weekly with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, has not reported since May 13.
 
On May 20, Sylvester was listed as non-compliant, but it wasn't until more than a month later, the day of the confrontation, that an arrest warrant was issued, only to go active this past Wednesday, June 29.
 
Detective Shawn Karr with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department said those registered as homeless usually get some leeway. 

"What we've done in the past is if they go past their seven days, because they're homeless, we'll usually let it go another week or so to see if we can contact them or they have contact with another police agency in the area," said Detective Karr.

Bloomington police, who had no knowledge of Sylvester's pending warrant, said Crowder was given several chances to de-escalate the confrontation.

"Our officers checked all of the warrants on the victim on this case and he was not wanted at the time, so there was no action the officers could take in regards to that. That was all explained to him but it was unacceptable to (Crowder)," said Bloomington Police Department Captain Steve Kellams.

Sylvester was allowed to go free because the system wasn't up to date. 

"I realize this much now, I'm hurting my family. It wasn't worth it." said Crowder.

Crowder went to court Friday and Sylvester, free somewhere in Bloomington, remains a wanted fugitive.

"If they're going to let a pedophile run the streets and here I am trying to do the right thing, what do I have to do, call every week to make sure he's registered?" Crowder said.

Sylvester's warrant for failing to register as a sex offender has been entered into statewide and national databases. If he's stopped by police, he will be arrested.