Crime Stoppers of Wichita-Sedgwick County is increasing its maximum reward for tips that lead to arrests to $2,500.
The reward ceiling has been $1,000 since the organization was created in 1980. The executive board decided to increase the reward after studying what other Crime Stoppers organizations around the country were offering, executive director Gordon Bassham said Monday.
“$1,000 … is not seen as much value today,” Bassham said. “$1,000 was a lot of money 33 years ago … but $2,500 is even more money.”
Police officials welcomed the increase, saying the larger reward might prompt more crime tips – including about the shooting in Old Town last month that killed one person and wounded six.
“Perhaps the increase in the reward will shake loose some information about this crime and other felony crimes,” Bassham said.
Capt. Brent Allred said police have received tips, information and video linked to the fatal shooting of Kolby Hopkins, 25, early on the morning of Sept. 22.
“We just don’t have enough yet to make an arrest” in the case, Allred said.
“Money’s important to people and remaining anonymous is important to people,” he added.
Put those two elements together, he said, and it can lead to solving crimes – such as the fatal hit-and-run case on 21st Street in early July.
Lloyd Ferguson, 49, was riding his horse along with a 6-year-old boy when they were hit by a car late in the evening. The Mercury Grand Marquis fled the scene.
Ferguson died in the collision and the boy, Eddie Caddell, suffered serious injuries. A Crime Stoppers tip nearly a month after the collision led to the discovery of the car in a garage in north Wichita and arrests in the case.
Crime Stoppers also played a role in the May arrest of four people connected to the death of Jordan Turner, a former Wichita South High School football player whose body was found in a cotton field in southeast Sedgwick County. An investigation revealed that Turner, 19, was shot at least twice on March 31 in the field near 127th Street East and Pawnee.
The defendants are still awaiting trial in that case.
Tips to Crime Stoppers are always anonymous. Tipsters can phone in information to 316-267-2111, text TIP217 and a message to CRIMES (274637) or submit tips online at www.wichitasedgwickcountycrimestoppers.com. Each tip is issued a number, which is used to check whether a reward has been approved.