Logo by East Idaho Crime Stoppers, cover design by Alex Lemoing, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — A local nonprofit has been passing tips to law enforcement for four decades, resulting in arrests and charges.
A burglary in July 2022 at a local haunted attraction called Planet Doom yielded tips to East Idaho Crime Stoppers after police asked for help identifying the suspects, according to Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Clements.
The suspects had broken into the business and stole over $4,000 worth of items.
Eventually, two men were identified and charged in the case due to successful tips.
At least one tipster received a reward for the information provided through Crime Stoppers, Clements said.
RELATED | Police ask for help identifying suspects who stole over $4,000 worth of items from Planet Doom
RELATED | Planet Doom suspects charged after allegedly stealing over $4,000 worth of items in July
“Crime Stoppers is most definitely a valuable tool for us,” Clements told EastIdahoNews.com. “We have used Crime Stoppers for high-profile cases like robberies, carjackings, homicides and drug cases. We’ve used it for lower-level crimes like vandalism as well.”
What is East Idaho Crime Stoppers?
East Idaho Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization that started in Bonneville County in 1982. It was established by a group of local residents and law enforcement agencies.
“They were concerned about crimes going on. They wanted to form a way where people could provide anonymous tips and information to help solve these crimes … (and) help law enforcement,” said Sgt. Bryan Lovell with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.
Lovell is one of many liaisons for East Idaho Crime Stoppers.
The organization has nine civilian board members who live and work in the eastern Idaho community. East Idaho Crime Stoppers was formerly known as “Bonneville-Idaho Falls Crime Stoppers,” Lovell said.
Sgt. Bryan Lovell works at the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and is also a liaison for East Idaho Crime Stoppers. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
What counties does it serve?
In September 2022, the board elected to expand its single-county coverage to include all counties in eastern Idaho. The expansion includes law enforcement agencies in 17 counties.
“Over time, a lot of different tips to a lot of different areas were coming. We forwarded that on (to the other agencies), but it just makes sense to partner and have those connections in a wider area,” Lovell said.
Here are the following counties involved in East Idaho Crime Stoppers, according to its website:
How it works
East Idaho Crime Stoppers allows people to report a crime online anonymously at IFCrime.org by clicking on the “report a crime” button and selecting the proper law enforcement agency on the tip form. There are over 25 law enforcement agencies listed.
The form asks what kind of offense has taken place for crimes such as arson, bank fraud, drugs, burglary, sexual assault, and even homicide.
“People send their tips. As they select which agency or area it’s for, that information gets sent to the liaisons with each of those entities that may be involved in it, and they start working it from there,” Lovell explained.
However, if a crime is in progress or there is an immediate emergency, it’s best to call 911.
East Idaho Crime Stoppers is an active member of Crime Stoppers USA, which is a national crime stoppers organization that spans the country to create a network of local programs that work together to prevent and solve crimes in communities. The program started in 1976.
A cash reward was offered to those who provided anonymous tips, which would lead to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the crime.
“The Crime Stoppers program has enjoyed great success with the information received, which has led to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for committing felony offenses, boasting an average conviction rate of approximately 95% on cases solved by a tip to the program,” Crime Stoppers USA said on its website.
Like Crime Stoppers USA, there is also a cash reward system in place for East Idaho Crime Stoppers.
A Facebook post in December from East Idaho Crime Stoppers said, “The Idaho Falls Police Department needs some help identifying the suspects below. Tips resulting in an arrest may be eligible for a reward.”
“Being able to tie a request for assistance to a reward offered by Crime Stoppers helps those stories to get more traction and to make people more aware of a situation or a dangerous criminal on the loose,” Clements told EastIdahoNews.com.
The monetary rewards range in value and can be hundreds of dollars. The rewards come from donations given to East Idaho Crime Stoppers by the community.
“(The board members) are the ones that decide the reward structure,” Lovell said. “Typically… it’s tips and information that lead to a felony arrest and/or conviction. Then the amount of the reward might be specific to different levels of crime.”
Awards are not always offered, but East Idaho Crime Stoppers is another way to help law enforcement on a specific case.
It’s still new for some departments, but a helpful tool
East Idaho Crime Stoppers is still fairly new to some east Idaho counties since they expanded the service in 2022.
Bannock County Sheriff Tony Manu said it’s a different avenue to receive tips. He hopes to use it soon for a cold case that has been in the department’s archives.
“It’s probably going to be one of those that we put onto Crime Stoppers looking for new leads,” Manu said.
Shelley Police detective Wes Hayman said the department receives tips from Crime Stoppers but not as often as areas with larger populations.
“We have received some tips in the city limits and some outside the city that we pass onto Bingham County Sheriff’s Office. The tips we have received have not yet resulted in an arrest by our agency,” Hayman told EastIdahoNews.com.
As for the Blackfoot Police Department, Capt. Wes Wheatley said since joining East Idaho Crime Stoppers in 2022, it has proven to be an asset to the department and joint investigation division.
“Our small annual investment in the program has yielded returns, facilitating some arrests and information, including the apprehension of felony suspects and resolution of serious crimes in other jurisdictions,” Wheatley said.
Lovell added that East Idaho Crime Stoppers is valuable, and the Bonneville County community is proactive in reporting suspicious activity and crime, along with watching out for their neighborhoods.
“It’s a community tool that helps keep our cities, our counties, and our neighborhoods safer,” Lovell said.
Visit its Facebook page to view the latest on what East Idaho Crime Stoppers has been working on.
Crime Stoppers is supported mainly by donations from businesses, local community groups, and individuals. If you want to donate to the nonprofit, you can send a tax-deductible donation to East Idaho Crime Stoppers at P. O. Box 51541, Idaho Falls, ID 83405-1541.
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