Crime Stoppers low on cash middle-aged high on rock 'n' roll

THIS JUST IN...

March 28, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Being Bob Pivec, community do-gooder, is sometimes a dirty job. He's "more or less" the chairman of the board of Metro Crime Stoppers, the tip line that serves metropolitan Baltimore. In his role with that fine group, Pivec has found himself in some peculiar predicaments -- like the time he paid reward money to a guy in a Dumpster.

"This was, oh, four or five years ago," he says. "The man had called the hot line with a tip that worked out. He wanted his reward, but he wanted it paid to a Dumpster. So he gave me the location; I think it was some alley off Calhoun Street, near Pennsylvania Avenue, late at night. And the guy wanted me to walk up and knock on the Dumpster. So that's what I did.

"The man was inside the Dumpster. I asked him his code number and he wouldn't give it to me. And I said, 'Look, I can't give you the reward unless you give me your code number so I can identify you.' He wouldn't say anything. Finally, I shouted, 'Are you Number 1483?' And he said, 'Yes, yes!' and opened the Dumpster and I handed him the reward. See, that's how scared some of these people are.

"Another time, a guy due a reward said he would walk past my office in Towson at a certain time and that he'd be wearing a blue baseball cap. 'But when I walk by, don't stop me,' he said. 'Don't stop you?' I said. 'Right, and don't talk to me,' he said. He wanted me to just stick my hand out the door with the money."

Over the last 11 years, men and women throughout the metropolitan area have called Crime Stoppers with hundreds of tips about crimes in the city, Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Pivec says about 40 percent of those tips have resulted in arrests for a variety of crimes, and about 87 percent of those cases have ended with convictions for murders (218), armed robberies (628) and burglaries (460).

Now, however, Crime Stoppers, a private, nonprofit organization known for those sometimes quirky crime re-enactments during local television broadcasts, is having a tough go. "We're in dire financial straits," says Pivec. "We have almost no money left for rewards, and we pay out, on average, $35,000 a year."

The board has been trying to raise money, and that's a never-ending story. Begging is a dirty job. "And people get tired of begging," Pivec says. "They're all volunteers; it's tough on them. So now, we're making an appeal to businesses and individuals. Give us a dollar, we'll give you a Crime Stoppers sticker. If I could sell 100,000 stickers in metropolitan Baltimore, it could definitely have an effect on crime. If you have the sticker and the phone number, you can do something about crime and still be anonymous, and help us keep paying the rewards." Call 1 (800) 281-6666.

Missing jingle

Chris Lochner of Anneslie calls it "a calamity, a failure of Western civilization, a split in the space-time continuum." He had just heard the new Mary Sue Easter Egg jingle, in stereo, on an FM radio station. "The Mary Sue jingle has been updated!" cries Lochner, aghast at the development. "It's the same words and music, but different [orchestration] and singers. I always felt spring had arrived when I heard, 'You'll love those Easter eggs, Mary Sue Easter Eggs . . .' but in the proper 1950s style. Now, after a brutal winter, They are doing this to Us? Do something, Dan!"

I did. I made a few calls. The Mary Sue jingle, of course, is a Baltimore perennial. But the company that makes the famous Easter eggs decided that, after 40 years, the ditty needed updating, with new voices and a cleaner sound, especially if the candies were to be marketed in the Washington area. There's hope yet. Mark Berman, top man at Mary Sue, says he'll roll out the moldy oldie if enough people demand to hear it.

Blob around the clock

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