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Anonymity has its rewards


September 8, 2014
By Corrie Sloot

An Ajax barn restorer learned the rules of Crime Stoppers the hard way.

Brett Maynard stumbled over something unusual at a vacant, boarded-up farm near Cobourg in 2011 – a large item covered with a tarp. When Maynard peeled back the cover, he found a Kubota mini-excavator. The stickers had been removed but he was still able to make out the owner’s name on the arm.

A quick phone call confirmed the machine didn’t belong to his partner, who remembered hearing that a construction company owner had lost more than $60,000 worth of equipment in a theft a few weeks earlier.

His partner suggested Maynard call Crime Stoppers so he could collect a cash reward. Maynard did so but was put on hold for 15 minutes and then cut off. Growing impatient, he called police, “thinking they were the same thing.”

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Two officers showed up, called the owner, who confirmed the machine was his, and told Maynard the case was closed. Minutes later, he called back Crime Stoppers with the officer’s badge number and information. He was given a personal identification number and asked to call in a week but when he called back, was told he was ineligible for a reward because he was no longer anonymous.

Once you give up your anonymity, you are no longer a Crime Stoppers tipster, Toronto Crime Stoppers coordinator Darlene Ross confirmed.

There is no option. That’s why the call centres have no call display.

“That compromises the program,” Ross said. “This program works on nothing but anonymity.”

She said people who give up their anonymity “then become a witness, not an anonymous tipster. If people found out that we were paying people and we knew who they were, that would take away people’s trust in the program,” Ross said.

“Once you give your name we end the call,” added Crime Stoppers spokesman Lorne Simon. “It’s the principle.” .

{Crime Stoppers Facts}

  • To be eligible for a Crime Stoppers reward of up to $2,000 in cash, you have to remain anonymous. Once you give your name either to police or to a Crime Stoppers call-taker, you are ineligible.

  • Once you phone in a tip to Crime Stoppers, you are given a personal identification number and it is your responsibility to check back with them periodically to see how the case is progressing.

  • Once the case has been resolved, your information is taken to the next board meeting and the board decides the amount you are eligible to receive.

  • Once the payment is authorized, you (or a friend or relative) take that identification number to a bank branch (the bank differs among jurisdictions – in the Toronto area, it’s TD Canada Trust) and present the number. The amount is verified with Crime Stoppers and you receive the cash payment.