Chaves County Crime Stoppers will make payouts of more than $1,000 this week to three individuals who provided information leading to three arrests.
Crime Stoppers president Steve Wolfe said, “I’m particularly proud we could help to catch (Donald) Buechner who has created such havoc in the community. Buechner’s picture came out in Roswell’s Most Wanted, and we had him the same day.”
Buechner was wanted for the fraud of three victims, adding up to $10,000. After his appearance in Roswell’s Most Wanted, the police received more calls which yielded an additional 12 to 13 reports filed against him. Roswell Police Department spokeswoman Sabrina Morales said that a second warrant has been issued with $75,000 cash-only bond based on the new information provided which will be served to him when he is [auth] extradited from Texas and brought back to the Chaves County Detention Center. “The dollar amount (of the fraud) measures in the hundreds of thousands,” she said.
The payouts represent resurgence of interest in Crime Stoppers. All together, the organization has paid $8,480 in cash rewards. The first award was made in November 2010. Up until that time, Crime Stoppers was an under-utilized resource in Chaves County. According to Wolfe, no payouts had been made for more than 10 years.
“I continue to be encouraged that Chaves County Crime Stoppers has become a valid and viable means of fighting crime in Roswell,” Wolfe said.
Although Crime Stoppers has issued checks, not all people have accepted the award, which appears to refute the claim that the only reason why people call Crime Stoppers is to get a cash reward. “That’s true nationally. Not all people take the money,” Wolfe said.
He credits the revitalization of the group to the spirit of cooperation between the Roswell Daily Record, with Roswell’s Most Wanted; the Roswell Police Department and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office. “The Roswell Safe Coalition has pushed to get Crime Stoppers back up and running. We also created a new website,” said Wolfe.
He is pleased that the other media, radio and television, have picked up the torch, placing Roswell’s Most Wanted on their websites and Facebook pages.
Wolfe repeated that those who have information about a crime should call 1-888-594-TIPS, which will connect them to an out-of-state switchboard. The caller will receive a “claim number.” No names are given and the person is protected. He or she will not be called upon to act as a witness because the police or sheriff’s deputies have to investigate to confirm each tip. In other words, the officers will provide the proof required in court.
If the information leads to a warrant or an arrest, an award will be given. The amounts are approved by the Chaves County board of directors and vary from $100 to $1,000.
All totaled, Crime Stoppers tips have been instrumental in closing the book on some 30 crimes since November 2010, with charges ranging from burglary, fraud, criminal sexual penetration and stabbings to homicide.
“Our job is to take a little bite out of crime. This shows that it is working,” said Wolfe.