Fort Myers Police giving more reward money to help solve homicides

Corey Perrine/Staff
Liquor bottles are seen placed by Cedric Robinson's friends July 23, 2012 at his graveside paying respect to his life. Robinson died from injuries sustained in a shooting at Clemente Park at Lee Memorial Hospital Monday, June 6, 2011 in Fort Myers. Robinson's killer was never arrested. Robinson was 20.

Photo by COREY PERRINE // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff Liquor bottles are seen placed by Cedric Robinson's friends July 23, 2012 at his graveside paying respect to his life. Robinson died from injuries sustained in a shooting at Clemente Park at Lee Memorial Hospital Monday, June 6, 2011 in Fort Myers. Robinson's killer was never arrested. Robinson was 20.

In hopes of generating more tips, Fort Myers police are offering up to $25,000 for information leading to any arrest and conviction in the city's unsolved homicide cases.

Police said people can also earn $5,000 for tips leading to the arrest of those illegally in possession of firearms or the arrest of a robbery suspect.

"We are encountering far too many situations where innocent people are being put at risk — including children," said Crime Stoppers coordinator Trish Routte. "Both Crime Stoppers and the Fort Myers Police Department are hopeful that the lure of extra reward money will encourage people in the know who haven't come forward in the past to do so now."

The extra reward money will come from the police department's forfeiture funds, said spokeswoman Shelly Flynn.

Last year, there were 24 homicides in Fort Myers, the city's highest number since officials began keeping track about 20 years ago. But police are struggling to make arrests with 19 of the cases still unsolved.

"We need witnesses who are willing to follow cases through to their conclusions to hold violent offenders accountable. But that's not happening," Police Chief Doug Baker said. "If the extra financial incentive is what it takes to make that happen, here is your chance. We need the community to step up to the plate and do the right thing."

Residents can stay anonymous when reporting their tips, according to police. No name or identifying information are taken, and Routte said Crime Stoppers does not record phone calls or use caller ID. Tipsters are given a code number, and rewards are paid in cash so they are not traced back to the caller.

Tips can be made by calling 1-800-780-TIPS, by visiting www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637), with keyword REWARD.

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