JASPER COUNTY, MO.--- The nonprofit organization "Heartland Crime Stoppers" no longer exists as a way for citizens to report anonymous crime tips. Heartland Crime Stoppers is supported through donations, but after a crime was done within the organization, it no longer has enough funds to continue.
"There's a person that is charged right now with stealing, I guess you want to call it. He was the former treasury, because of that, the funding ran quite low," said Bob Sheldon, Active Crime Stopper Program.
Bob Sheldon was an active member of "Heartland Crime Stoppers." He says instead of going into debt with various payments, the organization decided it was best to close down.
"You've got the call center, you've got dues, you've got phone lines, post office box, insurance. There's a lot of things that go into running an organization like this and protecting it," said Sheldon.
The Jasper County sheriff tells us it's a shame it's ending because it was a helpful way for law enforcement and the community to work together.
"We would often times send them information in an effort to get the word or promote that to the citizens of our community. So often times, they could help us find those people," said Sheriff Randee Kaiser, Jasper County Sheriff Office.
In fact it was a anonymous tip that led the sheriff's office in the right direction when it came to solving the 2008 murder of Sheldon's parents.
"So that kind of tip sensitized me to that possibility being a strong detour for crime, other people calling in turning things in they didn't think was right," said Sheldon.
The sheriff says people feel more comfortable releasing information when no one knows their identity.
"If people have a means to give us information, especially if it's anonymous like that, they're more likely to do so and it's obviously a huge benefit for us in our investigation," said Sheriff Kaiser.
So what's next, Sheldon believes it's the small events that lead up to major crimes. If those can be interrupted with some kind of help, then many families wouldn't suffer the way his did.
"So maybe someday it can start back up again or another organization will develop, and maybe some of us can be apart of that and help continue the work ethic that way," said Sheldon.
Matthew Paige allegedly stole $3,200 from the organization between 2012 and 2013. The organization started about four years ago and had helped with many investigations in solving crimes.
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