Monday, September 24, 2018
Public safety

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.

The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward fund that had reached $100,000, but a news release later indicated the foundation hadn’t told the reward administrator, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay.

"In order for us to advertise a reward, it has to have an agreement with the agency," said Master Deputy Kelly McLaren, Crime Stoppers’ law enforcement program coordinator. "I have not spoken to that person. He has the right to offer the reward on his own."

Straz, a philanthropist and retired banker who is exploring a run for Tampa mayor in 2019, joins a number of individuals and institutions that have offered money to aid in the search for whoever is responsible for four shooting deaths during the past five weeks in Southeast Seminole Heights.

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Asked Tuesday whether the Straz Foundation had checked first on making the contribution, spokeswoman Leslie Spencer said only that Crime Stoppers "were contacted and we are waiting a call back."

Last week, restaurateur Richard Gonzmart pledged $9,000 to the reward fund but did so through the organization Rise Tampa, which had an agreement with Crime Stoppers, Deputy McLaren said.

Crime Stoppers gave this breakdown of the reward money: $5,000 from Crime Stoppers; $15,000 from Rise Tampa; $10,000 from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; $20,000 from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and $50,000 from the FBI.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of a suspect or suspects who wants to be eligible for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477 (TIPS), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com, or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application.

To be eligible for the reward, individuals must contact Crime Stoppers first.

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