Have you ever wondered how CMPD’s Crimestoppers program pays tipsters who are anonymous? What about how much money they’ve paid out, or how many arrests have been made as a result of anonymous tips?
FOX 46 Charlotte met with CMPD detective Toriarno Roddey, the one man force behind Crimestoppers, to get an in depth look at the program.
“It’s me, and only me!” Roddey laughed.
Crimestoppers is a program that has been at CMPD since 1989, where any member of the community can call in and give information on a case. If it’s credible, they get paid, tax free.
“Cash money, we deal with nothing but cash,” Roddey said. “Cash makes people talk more.”
Since 2002, the program has received more than 22,000 credible tips, which have led to more than 2,200 arrests, and over $360,000 in payouts.
Detective Roddey has been with CMPD for 18 years, the last two and a half of which he’s spent with Crimestoppers.
“In times like these when everybody isn’t a lover of police, it’s really a time when we still need to work together because everybody wants to be safe,” Roddey said.
Roddey explained to FOX 46 Charlotte how the program works.
He said if patrol units and detectives aren’t able to get a quick, credible lead on a case, they’ll ask the media to have viewers anonymously call Crimestoppers with information.
“It goes to our call center, they have people trained there, and they take all the information, once they get all the information, they give this person a tip number,” Roddey said. “Everything is anonymous, we don’t wanna know who you are, or anything about you.”
Once the callers have a tip number, they’re told to call back several weeks later, to find out if their tip was good. The information is then sent to Roddey’s computer, where he investigates it.
“So they call, and that’s when I answer the phone, they give me the tip number,” Roddey said. “I’m able to go into the computer, pull the tip number up, and find out whether the information was good or not.”
If the tip was good, the caller is in for a pay day, often thousands of dollars.
“At that point I say okay, well, I need you to meet me at a certain location on a certain date, and you will receive your payout,” Roddey said. “I don’t want to know anything about you, who you are, what’s your name, just give me the tip number, that’s it.”
And it turns out, most of the callers never even show up to get their envelope of cash.
“Only maybe 30 percent show up for the actual money, believe it or not,” Roddey said. “They might get scared, heck, they might have warrants themselves, who knows why they don’t show up.”
Roddey said homicides and shootings typically produce the most phone calls, and that the biggest payout he can remember was a $25,000 reward for a murder in Charlotte in 2012.
“This program really has an impact on the community, cause once we get these guys off the streets, we’re preventing the next crime,” Roddey said.
So far in 2017, Crimestoppers has gotten 345 tips which have led to 31 arrests and just over $8,600 in payouts.
In 2016, the program garnered 2,300 tips which lead to 203 arrests, and in 2015 there were 2,400 calls which led to 240 arrests.
“We’ve got good numbers” Roddey said.
He told FOX 46 Charlotte that sometimes, the calls just don’t come, and there’s one case in particular that frustrates him to this day.
It was the murder of 7-year-old Kevin Rodas, who was shot and killed outside of his home during a birthday party. His killer has never been caught.
“I was out there on that scene, and I tell you what man, that really bothered me, we didn’t get the tips that we wanted, that was a very frustrating time for me personally because I tell you, whenever there’s kids involved, it takes it to another level, and we didn’t get the tips, we were even offering $15,000 and we couldn’t get anything,” Roddey said.
As for his most gratifying tip, Roddey said it came from a recent homicide case.
“A person actually, and this is very crazy, we had a tipster call in and said one night she happened to be looking out the window, and saw a car pull up with it’s lights out,” Roddey said. “A guy gets out of the car and puts something down in the drain, and so the next morning the lady sends out her son to go see what the car did. The son went out there and looked down, and it was something wrapped in a cloth. He was able to reach down there and grab it out of the drain and it was a knife that somebody had just killed somebody with, we end up catching the suspect and getting the murder weapon, it was huge.”
Crimestoppers has a 14 member civilian board that sets the payout amounts for each year, and also helps raise money through fundraisers and donations, their biggest fundraiser is the annual Crimestoppers golf tournament held in Ballantyne.