Macon Regional Crimestopper's Case Studies
Since the inception of Macon Regional Crimestoppers in 2000, tips have resulted in over 4,000 arrests. Some of the stories are dramatic, and leads provided through the Crimestoppers hotline have led to some high profile arrests. Here are a couple of case studies that illustrate how the Crimestoppers program helps catch criminals.
All About Animals Break-in
On the night of October 17, a break-in occurred at the All About Animals shelter near Central Park in Macon. Between 20 and 30 dogs housed in the shelter were released. Dogfights ensued, resulting in the deaths of 3 animals and several injuries to other dogs. Dogfighting was suspected as the motive, and the community was outraged. The story received intensive media coverage for several days. Many of the stories requested information and provided the Crimestoppers hotline number 877-68-CRIME.
Several animal activist groups contributed additional rewards, eventually bringing the total amount offered to $18,000. Tips came in to Crimestoppers, including a lead on October 22 from a tipster who described an individual who had been talking about the shelter on the night of the break-in. This tip led to the arrest of Crystal Gayle Fessler on November 14, 2013.
Tip Results in Pursuit, Fugitive's Arrest
Yolanda King managed to evade police for several months until a Crimestoppers tip led to her arrest. King had been involved with four others in a forgery and identity theft ring that was uncovered in a multi-agency investigation that began in the Fall of 2011. The group stole identification information from homeless shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals and used it to file fraudulent tax returns. The total amount of IRS refunds collected illegally by the group is unknown, but police suspect it to be in the millions.
Arrests were made in June of 2012, and the case went to trial a year later. After the trial, King disappeared and a warrant was issued for threatening a witness in the case.
On October 24th, a Crimestoppers hotline tip led police to be on the lookout for King. She was spotted driving a red Lincoln towncar in downtown Macon by a Macon police officer. A chase ensued and King eventually crashed the car into a telephone pole and then fled on foot. According to police, King ran across several lanes of traffic and entered a house where she was finally apprehended.
Sentencing for the fraud case is scheduled for January 2014, and Ms. King also faces charges other charges. The October arrest was her 18th, dating back to 1998.