BROOKINGS – Thanks to a Crimestoppers tip, three suspects have been identified for widespread tire slashing earlier this year, said Lt. Derrick Powers of the Brookings Police.
The three suspects are all juvenile boys: one 16-year-old and two 15-year-olds. All are from the Brookings area, Powers said.
Back at the end of January, a number of tires were slashed on vehicles in Brookings, on the campus of South Dakota State University and other locations in the county over the course of several days.
“There were in excess of 40 vehicles that received damage to their tires. The damage caused was in the thousands (of dollars),” Powers said.
“Recently, information was received through the Brookings Area Crimestoppers,” Powers said.
The information helped law enforcement identify the suspects and, within the last couple of days, interviews were conducted with the suspects and they acknowledged involvement, so the investigation was cleared Tuesday, Powers said.
He praised Crimestoppers and the anonymous tipster.
“We really had run out of leads. The police department is really pleased with the Crimestopper program,” Powers said.
“We had worked with the Brookings Area Crimestoppers to promote this unsolved crime to try and generate information on potential suspects. And it worked as it should,” he said.
There’s still a bit of work to be done.
“At this point, we’re finishing up the investigation. The report will be forwarded over to the State’s Attorney for charges,” he said.
The preliminary charge is intentional damage to property, but “how it will be charged out is up to the State’s Attorney’s Office,” Powers said.
Once the charges are filed, the anonymous tipster will be eligible for the $500 reward that was offered by Crimestoppers, which distributes the funds.
“There’s a way that if someone does receive a reward through Crimestoppers, it’s still done completely anonymous,” Powers said.
That helps out law enforcement.
“Our biggest hurdle is someone may (be) worried about coming forth with information because (they are afraid) they might be in a report,” Powers said. “Crimestoppers helps individuals provide that information anonymously, but also they provide a little bit of motivation with the cash reward.”
That can mean the difference between closing a case and the guilty party walking free.
“Someone is able to submit a tip anonymously that helped lead to an identification of those involved,” Powers said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]