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Eagle editorial: Police need help, tips

  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at 12 a.m.

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Good work, Wichita Police Department, in making arrests in the shocking crime in which a wedding ring was stolen off a dying woman. And thanks especially to whoever passed along the tip that led to the arrests.

Citizens need to step forward when they have information about a crime.

On Dec. 29, Danielle Zimmerman suffered a brain aneurysm when she was in the drive-through of a Taco Bell on East Harry. Her truck hit a speaker box before stopping.

Rather than coming to her aid and calling 911, someone stole her purse, iPhone and the wedding ring off her finger while she lay stricken in her vehicle. Zimmerman died the next day.

The callousness of the crime shocked the city and received national media attention.

“It’s hard to believe someone like this lives in our community,” said Gordon Bassham, executive director of the Wichita Crime Commission.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said that the crime took “low to a whole new level.”

Zimmerman’s husband, Kris, said their two teen sons “can’t believe that somebody would do that.”

No one could.

But thanks to a tip to Crime Stoppers, police arrested two men Friday night and a third on Monday afternoon. Police also recovered some of Zimmerman’s property, though not yet the wedding ring.

The arrests show the importance of Crime Stoppers and of citizens doing their part to help police.

Crime Stoppers received more than 2,000 tips last year, a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Those tips led to 125 arrests, KWCH, Channel 12, reported.

A Crime Stoppers tip also led to another arrest announced this week – a man suspected of driving a vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident on Oct. 27.

But law enforcement authorities need more help. The Eagle reported Monday how Wichita Police Department detectives are frustrated that four of last year’s 16 homicides remain unsolved. In one of those cases, Kolby Hopkins was shot when someone opened fire in a busy Old Town parking lot on Sept. 22. Surely someone saw something.

“We know someone out there holds the key to solving these cases,” Lt. Todd Ojile said.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet is also disappointed that a $50,000 reward offered last month has yet to result in new information about the disappearance 15 years ago of 11-year-old Adam Herrman.

Law enforcement officers do a great job solving crimes, but they sometimes need help. Citizens who have information need to contact police or call Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee

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