MIDDLESEX COUNTY— Residents will soon have another reason to help police catch criminals – the prospect of monetary rewards.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Anthony A. Caputo, retired director of the New Brunswick Police Department, announced Tuesday that a board of directors has been created and has begun operating Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc., a non-profit organization that will offer rewards to the public for information leading to the arrests of suspects for a variety of crimes. Caputo will serve as chairman and president of the new organization.
Crime Stoppers is a nationally-recognized agency dedicated to helping police solve crimes by offering cash payments to entice people to call a special phone number and anonymously provide information.
In Middlesex County, a phone number, website and text messaging system have been created for the convenience of people who want to call Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. to provide anonymous information about criminal activity.
The phone number is: 1-800-939-9600. The website is: middlesextips.com. Text messages may be sent to 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword ‘’midtip’’ followed by a message.
Those who call will be given instructions on how to collect cash rewards by using a numerical code that will be recognized by a local bank, which will pay the rewards that are approved by the board.
Kaplan said Crime Stoppers is a new way for Middlesex County residents to contact police about crimes. In the months to come, criminal cases will be publicized with offers of cash rewards to people who anonymously contact Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. with information leading to the arrests of suspects.
“Police in Middlesex County have long had a strong working relationship with our residents, whose assistance has been invaluable in preventing crime, solving crime and providing information that has led to successful prosecutions,” Kaplan said.
“Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. offers a financial incentive and guarantees anonymity to those who might otherwise be reluctant to help us,” Kaplan said.
The new board of directors voted to elect Caputo as chairman and president, and named Daniel R. DelBagno, a retired captain of the Newark Police Department, as vice-president, and Charles Crocco, a retired regional operations manager for Citi Bank, as treasurer.
In addition, the board secretary will be Ron Franz, a retired New Jersey State Police captain who serves as executive director of the Middlesex County 200 Club, which recognizes excellence and heroism among police officers.
The board members are:
- Greg Schiano, head football coach at Rutgers University
- Stephen K. Jones, president and chief executive officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
- Kevin P. Donovan, vice-president, global security for Johnson & Johnson
- Adrian Hughes, general manager of the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick
- Ben Cannizzaro, publisher of Greater Media Newspapers, and
- Gerard Cappella, chief of the Dunellen Police Department and president of the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police.
Members of the board of directors will volunteer their time to consider the amounts of rewards that will be granted to anonymous callers.
Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. also has corporate members that have provided financial support. They are:
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
- Johnson & Johnson
- The Hyatt Regency of New Brunswick, and
- Greater Media Newspapers.
“Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. has been made possible through a group of corporations that have generously donated financial assistance to get this program started,” Caputo said. “We also have assembled a dedicated team of volunteers that will help run this organization. This is a great way for the community and law enforcement to work together.”
Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano said, “On behalf of my fellow Freeholders, I commend the Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County and the efforts being made to keep our communities safe.”
“The Crime Stoppers program is a good incentive to help make our communities safer,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Ronald G. Rios, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. ‘’When residents and local law enforcement agencies work together, we all win.”
For more than a year, Kaplan has been working to help organize the Crime Stoppers program for the county, first by meeting with other Crime Stoppers organizations for advice on creating the program, and then by seeking corporate members to finance the program and provide representatives for the board of directors.
“To set up this organization in Middlesex County, we studied how Crime Stoppers works elsewhere in New Jersey, and we have learned that in some cases, people don’t want the reward money, they just want to help keep their communities and families safe,” Kaplan said.
The new organization also has the full support of the police departments in Middlesex County.
“We would like to thank Prosecutor Kaplan and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for initiating a program that we feel engages the public and reaches out to the community to help us solve crimes that could otherwise go unsolved for some period of time,” Cappella said.
“We also thank the corporations that are supporting Crime Stoppers and appreciate that they recognize how important public support will be to ensure the program’s success,” Cappella said.
Robert J. Zullo Jr., an attorney with the law firm of Martin, Kane & Kuper of East Brunswick, prepared a certificate of incorporation, which was filed in Trenton on Oct. 22, 2010 to recognize Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. as a legal non-profit corporation.
Its parent organization, Crime Stoppers USA, which offers advice and training to local Crime Stoppers organizations, reported that since the program began in 1976, Crime Stoppers has been responsible for 543,509 arrests, has cleared 905,089 cases and has paid a total of $82,801,996 in rewards nationwide.
Any corporation or business wishing to be a financial sponsor to Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. may contact Lt. Christopher Penna at the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732- 745- 4102.
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