Metro Crime Stoppers, which in 10 years has solved 1,200 crimes in the Baltimore metropolitan area and doled out more than $200,000 in reward money, is in need of money to continue its efforts.
"In order to continue to survive, Metro Crime Stoppers is embarking on a fund-raising drive," Michael J. Agetstein, chairman of the organization's board of directors, said yesterday. "While Metro Crime Stoppers assist law enforcement, we are not a publicly funded agency."
The crime-fighting group, which offers rewards to informants who call over an anonymous hot line with tips about crimes, works closely with law enforcement agencies in Harford, Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties as well as in Baltimore City. It now hopes to raise $100,000 through donations from the public.
Agetstein said Metro Crime Stoppers, which has an all-volunteer staff, needs $40,000 to $50,000 to sustain the rewards given out. The rest would be used to help expand the program.
Since its inception in 1981, Metro Crime Stoppers has received 3,400 calls and helped recover property valued at half a million dollars, officials said.
At a reception yesterday at the Baltimore Detention Center, representatives of the Maryland National Bank recounted how Metro Crime Stoppers helped solve the murder of an employee from the company.
Susan C. Keating, executive vice president at Maryland National Bank, said the July 11 fatal shooting of Phyllis Hornfeck, 60, head teller of the bank branch in the 500 block of N. Franklintown Road, was a shock and scare to employees at all of bank's 234 branches.
Hornfeck, an employee at the bank for more than 20 years, was killed as she sat in her van on the bank parking lot waiting for another employee to arrive before entering the building. Police believe the shooting was the result of a bungled bank robbery.
Metro Crime Stoppers offered a reward for the killer after "police had exhausted all efforts in finding the person responsible."
Within days after the reward was announced, an informant called police and a suspect was arrested.
Bishop Robinson, the state secretary of correction, called Metro Crime Stoppers "law enforcement's No. 1 ally in the fight against crime."