As a serial shooter’s crime spree has grown in Phoenix, so has the reward for catching him, which is now up to $30,000 for tips leading to an arrest.
“Silent Witness will always pay up to $1,000 for any felony crime that occurs,” Silent Witness spokesman Sgt. Jamie Rothschild said.
Rothschild said that anything past the initial $1,000 is donation money. Rewards grow with money offered up by sympathetic police departments with seized criminal funds or budget surplus, victim’s family members and local businesses.
Offering a tip and claiming the reward money is almost like a spy novel covert operation.
“We don't ask for I.D. We simply tell them where they can go for their money, which is a bank, tell the teller what the code name is and they walk out with cash,” Rothschild said.
Tips almost always come from the communities where the crimes are committed.
Some community leaders around Maryvale, where six of the seven serial murders have happened, have noticed a trend toward minority victims. All seven victims were either black or Hispanic.
“We’re not saying [targeting minorities] is where it's at, but it's worth talking about,” said Lydia Hernandez, a former Arizona state representative and current state senate candidate.
Hernandez and other community leaders passed out hundreds of flyers on Tuesday, and they planned a community meeting to discuss ways people can help catch the killer—especially, in Spanish speaking neighborhoods that might not otherwise get involved.
“Normally, the only interaction they have [with police] is when they get pulled over or there's an emergency. We want to be proactive and engage them that this is what police officers are here for,” Hernandez said. “Those are the people we’re targeting today to have these conversations, so they know what they can do.”
The community meeting is Tuesday night at the Maryvale Community Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.