Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crime Stoppers reward still good in Bentley case

It took two requests but I finally got an answer out of Crime Stoppers for McHenry County about the reward offered in the Beth Bentley case.

On February 23 I wrote to Helen Torscher, who has served in several offices of Crime Stoppers for McHenry County. She has been at various times President and Treasurer of the organization, which operates on a basis more secret than the vault guarding the Secret Sauce recipe of McDonald's.

When she didn't reply to the February 23 request, I wrote to her again on March 2.

Today she replied, albeit in what felt like a rather curt and snobbish manner. Decide for yourself.

A woman of few words, she didn't even include a salutation.

"Crimestoppers would not rescind a reward offer.

"Per by-laws: "Crimestoppers pays rewards up to $1,000 to persons providing anonymous information that leads to the felony arrest of criminals and fugitives."

"You may send future inquiries to Hank Sugden..."

Out of courtesy to Hank Sugden, I'll refrain from publishing his personal email address.

She did not answer my inquiry about the $1,000 reward that had been offered by the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers. When the Woodstock organization folded, it transferred its remaining funds to Crime Stoppers for McHenry County. 

Note that Crime Stoppers in one recent year paid out only an average of $300 for tips. But they pull in a bundle every year in donations and fees from McHenry County Circuit Court. They are not accountable to anyone, and it is virtually impossible to learn their finances. There should be filing IRS Form 990 (or a variation) every year. Maybe I'll order those for four and five years and find out how much they spend on extravagant dinners each year for their annual meetings.

When was the last time you ever heard about someone collecting a reward from Crime Stoppers. Since many (but not all) tips are anonymous, all they'd have to do to satisfy the public is say how much they raked in and how they spent it. About three years ago they will sitting on $50,000. That would certainly pay a lot of $300 rewards.

Hank is the Crystal Lake attorney who represents Crime Stoppers for McHenry County and is its Registered Agent. I wonder if Hank will bill Crime Stoppers for any inquiries I might make. He should.

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