Union Crime Stoppers Seek Donations As Tips, Rewards Grow - WSPA.com

Union Crime Stoppers Seek Donations As Tips, Rewards Grow

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Wanted people on display at the Union County Courthouse Wanted people on display at the Union County Courthouse
UNION, S.C. -

Union County has tripled the amount of Crime Stoppers tips coming in over the past few years.

It has lead to the recovery of thousands of dollars in stolen property and helped solve serious crime.

Resident Neil Belue says he'd like to think he would report any knowledge of criminal activity to police, but a cash incentive sure helps.

"People need money and this is honest way to get it I think," Belue said.

The numbers point to the rewards effectiveness.

The Union County Sheriff's office said 320 tips came in last year, which led to more than 100 arrests. That's up from 66 arrests in 2011.

"It helps us find people we wouldn't find or couldn't find or are difficult to find," Chief Deputy Perry Haney said.

The county recovered almost $5,000 in stolen property in 2012 and ended up paying out about $4,000 in rewards.

Perry said anonymous tips lead to a burglary ring bust earlier this year. Four people were eventually arrested and charged with stealing thousands worth of electronics from 10 area homes.

And there's no sign of the program slowing down, some people have even become repeat tipsters.

The process usually starts when somebody recognizes one of the wanted people on the county courthouse mugshot board or in flyers distributed by the sheriff's office.

The next step is to call the number (864) 427-0800 to Crime Stoppers which is handled by SLED agents in Columbia. That's when you'll get a code.

If your tip leads to an arrest, the local Crime Stoppers board will determine an award amount. You'll then take your code down to this bank and pick up your cash payout.

Michelle Shugart has served on the Crime Stoppers board since the beginning back in 1999.

She says after a slow start, the program is now on a roll.

But it'll need more donations to keep those rewards rolling.

"We're putting the criminals away and the public is staying safe," Shugart said.

The rewards come from local municipalities as well as private businesses and individuals.

The rewards in Union County range from $50 to $1,000.

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  • Would you be more likely to report a crime if there were a reward involved?

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