Rewards: A first or last resort to solve crimes? - News, Weather & Sports

Rewards: A first or last resort to solve crimes?

Andrie Arnold and Jack Combs (Source: Family photos) Andrie Arnold and Jack Combs (Source: Family photos)
Christopher 2X Christopher 2X
Gena Arnold and Ieisha Tyson Gena Arnold and Ieisha Tyson
Dave Yates Dave Yates
Cindy Shain Cindy Shain

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Frequently, the clock is no friend of law enforcement officers trying to solve crimes. They and citizens' organizations resort to rewards to break down the Wall of Silence; that unspoken "Code of the Streets." But which cases are more likely to loosen lips and open wallets.

The family of Andrie Arnold has called upon the community's collective conscience after the 26-year-old mother of three was found shot to death off of West Gaulbert Avenue on the morning of November 30.

"They threw her in the alley," her aunt, Gena Arnold, told WAVE 3 News Sunday. "Why are they doing that to my niece?"

"She wasn't mixed up in the wrong crowd, or nothing like that," Arnold's cousin, Ieisha Tyson said.

"I'm just hopeful that one day people won't have to use real money as an incentive to come forward," community activist Christopher 2X said.

Monday, a $5,000 contribution from the City of Woodlawn Park boosted the reward to $30,000 for the arrest and conviction of whoever killed Jack Combs, a supervisor at the St. Matthews Kroger. Combs was shot to death while walking to his car on November 23.

Thus far, no one has offer a reward to apprehend Arnold's killer, but 2X believes that has more to do with place than race.

"People can relate to Kroger, people can relate to somebody being described as a hard worker," said 2X. "So in a place like St. Matthews, it's kind of rare for those kind of incidents to go down."

"A lot of our callers want to know what they're gonna be paid," said Dave Yates, coordinator for Kentuckiana CrimeStoppers. "We can't tell them that; it depends on the criteria of the case."

In 31 years, Yates said Kentuckiana CrimeStoppers has paid out more than $650,000 to close more than 10,000 cases and make more than 12,000 felony arrests. Arnold's murder case hasn't come before the organization's board.

"I'm certain we will be talking to each other this week about that case," Yates said.

"Really, most crimes are solved as a result of your community," said Cindy Shain, a former deputy chief of the former Jefferson County Police Department who now works for the Southern Police Institute, based out of the University of Louisville.

Shain doubts that law enforcement agencies generate data that would indicate what effect rewards have on solving crimes. Rather, she believes that the greater value of rewards programs is in keeping citizens focused on a particular crime and its victims.

"Because of that, maybe there's more of an opportunity for people to come forward with information," Shain said.

"The Wall of Silence is cracking a bit," 2X said, "because people are fed up."

2X is hopeful that Jack Combs and Andrie Arnold will be the breakthrough cases; there but for grace.

"Maybe it's the incentive to do the right thing, just because it's the right thing to do," said 2X.

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