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Crime Solvers: One More Tool to Convict

July 25, 2002

The shadow-like Sherlock Holmes character at the top of a wanted poster has become synonymous with Crime Solvers and a monetary reward.

The Fairfax County Crime Solvers program was founded in 1979, and since then, 1,716 of the Crime Solver cases have been closed.

Of those, 546 burglaries have been solved, 198 fugitives have been captured, two homicides have been solved, 21 grand larceny autos have been solved, 63 grand larcenies have been closed and 95 other cases have been closed as a result of tips from Crime Solver callers. A total of $191,035 in reward money has been authorized for payment.

Officer Julie Hersey, liaison with Crime Solvers for the Fairfax County Police Department, said, “This is a very important tool. We like to use every avenue possible to successfully close a case.”

Crime Solvers was formed because business and civic leaders recognized the need for citizen involvement in solving a variety of crimes. Crime Solvers is a locally run nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the State chapter of Crime Solvers, which, in turn, is affiliated with the international organization. The goal is to promote citizen involvement in solving crimes.

THERE ARE 14 members of the Board of Directors. These Board members determine what types of cases are publicized and what reward amount is offered. A minimum reward of $1,000 is offered for the featured “crime of the week.”

Two recent cases have been solved as a direct result of Crime Solver tips. In February, 2001, a car was stolen from the Woodlake Towers Apartments in the Seven Corners area of the county. The suspects were videotaped at a local department store where they were seen getting into a 1994 Dodge Caravan which was reported stolen the same day from the apartment complex. This information was released to media in the hopes that someone would call and identify the suspects. A caller called the tip line and gave police information on the suspects which led to their arrest.

In 1998, detectives were investigating a case where several animals were killed in the courtyard of Cameron Elementary School. Although the case got a lot of media attention at that time, and a Crime Solver bulletin was issued, police didn’t receive any tips that led to an arrest. In March, 2000, police received a tip from a caller which did lead to the arrest of a man from Lorton who was charged with cruelty to animals and burglary.

“It doesn’t matter how long after the event occurs,” Hersey said. “We will still honor our advertised rewards.”

ONE CRIME SOLVER tipster, who wished to remain anonymous, talked about why they were willing to make a call. “You hear so much about criminals taking revenge against witnesses that I was really reluctant to get involved,” the caller said. “I called Crime Solvers because I didn’t have to give my name and I didn’t believe that I was going to have to testify in court. That was true. The people who answered the phone did not ask for my name. They gave me a number and that was the way I was identified. They kept their word.”

Anyone who wants to get involved with the Crime Solver organization should call Officer Hersey at 703-246-2253. Those with information about a Crime Solvers case should call 703-691-8888 or 800-673-2777.