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News & Events

12/29/2015 - Busey Donates $735 to Crime Stoppers

Champaign County Crime Stoppers thanks Busey Bank for their recent donation of $735 to our organization.  Busey raises proceeds from a "Jeans Day" then donates the money to local non-profits.  We are honored to be one of this years recipients.  Thank you Busey!  Crime Stoppers organizations in Champaign, Bloomington, Decatur, Peoria, and Florida all received donations.

Busey Bank`s Mitzi Villalon (right) presents a check to Crime Stoppers` Treasurer Dawn Coyne.

Dawn Coyne (left) of Champaign County Crime Stoppers receives a check from Mitzi Villalon - Busey Pillar Relations associate.




8/17/2015 - Champaign County to Host 2016 Illinois State Crime Stoppers Conference

29th Annual Training Meeting and Conference

June 9-10-11, 2016
Hosted by the Champaign County Crime Stoppers
Hyatt Place Champaign
Champaign, IL 61820

More information, including registration information coming soon!

7/30/2015 - Crime Stoppers Announces Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award Winner

Crime Stoppers of Champaign County today announced the winner of the First Annual Dave Benton Crime Fighter of the Year Award at the organization’s Annual Meeting held at the Champaign Country Club. 

The winner is Michael Hao of Lake Zurich, Illinois.  The University of Illinois junior impressed the Selection Committee by combining his long-term commitment to fighting crime with his skills as a Computer Engineering major.   The Committee believes Michael most exemplifies the crime-fighting spirit exhibited by WCIA-TV anchorman Dave Benton during his newscasts and programs, and during his tenure as a member of the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors.  Dave lost his battle against cancer in May. Michael Hao is a member of the Student Patrol Program, which is an organization that developed the SafeWalk Program.  Safe walks are offered to students, faculty and staff on campus during evening and late night hours to reduce the chances they could become a victim of a crime by walking alone.  

Ryan Johnson, Campus Security Coordinator, nominated Michael for the Award.  Johnson said he wanted to improve on the SafeWalk Program and asked Michael to develop a SafeWalk app for smartphones.  In his nomination form, Johnson said it took about six months for Michael to create a one-of-a-kind app that allows students to quickly request a SafeWalk without placing a phone call.  The app uses GPS technology to locate the student and a request for Student Patrol Officers is made by simply pressing a button.  The Student Patrol Officers are quickly dispatched to the student’s location.  Johnson also said “we believe the app will have a huge impact on campus for international students with poor English skills, incoming freshmen who are not familiar with campus, and intoxicated students who need help getting home from bars and house parties. Mike’s skills and abilities with technology have proven to be a difference maker within our community. His app, which is now owned and operated by the U of I, will help make the campus community a safer place to live, work and study.” 
Michael said “this experience has not only taught me general programming skills, but it has more importantly shown me that these skills can be used to make our lives safer.  I am very grateful to have had an opportunity to be part of something like this”.                                 

7/22/2015 - Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award Presentation

The winner of the First Annual Dave Benton Crime Fighter of the Year Award will be announced during the Annual Meeting of Crime Stoppers of Champaign County on July 30th. In addition to the special presentation of the award, Champaign County Crime Stoppers is honored to present the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Rita Garman, as this year`s guest speaker. Members of area enforcement agencies are also among the invited guests.

The Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award has been established by the Crimestoppers Board of Directors and area law enforcement in honor of board member and WCIA-TV anchor Dave Benton. The intent is to recognize a Champaign County citizen who most exemplifies the crime-fighting spirit that Dave exhibited during his award-winning newscasts, programs, and during his tenure as a member of the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors. Dave lost his battle against cancer in May.

The Annual Meeting will be held from 12-1:30 at the Champaign Country Club, 1211 South Prospect. The winner along with the person who nominated the recipent, and Champaign County Crimestoppers Board Presdient John Hecker will be available during a news conference, at the Crime Stoppers tent on the front lawn at the Country Club, directly following the meeting.

4/22/2015 - Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award - Call for Nominations

Crime Stoppers of Champaign County is accepting nominations for the First Annual Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award. This annual award has been established by the Board of Directors in honor of board member and WCIA-TV anchor Dave Benton. The intent is to recognize a Champaign County citizen who most exemplifies the crime-fighting spirit that Dave Benton exhibited during his award-winning newscasts, programs, and during his tenure as a member of the Crime Stopper’s Board of Directors.

Nominations are open to the citizens of Champaign County. A nominee should be an individual who has made a difference in the fight against crime. The individual must have been involved in an on-going activity or program that helped to stop a crime, solve a case or made a big difference in resolving a dangerous situation that made their neighborhood, community or Champaign County safer.

The First Annual Dave Benton Crime Fighter Award will be presented during the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors on July 30th. The winner will also receive a monetary award of $500.

The deadline to submit nominations is June 1st. Nomination Forms can be found on the Crime Stoppers website. Printed forms are also available at the front desks of area police departments, and at the Sheriff`s Office.

For further information, contact:
John Hecker
President, Board of Directors
Crime Stoppers of Champaign County


12/9/2014 - Crime Stoppers Tip Leads to Arrest in Shooting Case

Courtesy of the News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign man wanted in connection with a fatal shooting in that city in October was arrested Monday night on a warrant charging him with being an armed habitual criminal.

Champaign police found Kenneth E. Butler, 30, in the 1800 block of Valley Road in Champaign. He was wanted on a warrant that had been issued two days after Jermel Hedrick, 24, was shot and killed outside Butler’s home in the 1500 block of Winston Drive.

Champaign police said Butler had been in a bedroom in his home where police later found a loaded handgun on Oct. 25. They were conducting a court-authorized search of the residence after Mr. Hedrick had been found earlier in a truck in front of the house, shot multiple times.

Police are still not certain who fired the shots and no one has been charged with Mr. Hedrick’s murder, which was the second shooting that same day in Champaign that resulted in a death.

Yojevol Sturkey, 35, had been shot about 2:15 a.m. in the 900 block of West Bradley Avenue on Oct. 25. He died of his wounds on Oct. 29. No one has been charged in connection with his death, either.

Sgt. Dave Griffet said on Monday that police received information, including a Crimestoppers tip, that Butler was at the Valley Road apartment, which is the home of the girlfriend of one of Butler’s friends.  Police watched the apartment while a detective obtained a search warrant for the place.

Griffet said officers tried to talk Butler into coming out but he refused so they assembled about eight SWAT team members. When confronted by those officers, Butler came out without resistance, Griffet said. There was another man in there with him.  He was then taken to the Champaign police station, where he talked to detectives about what happened at the Winston Drive address on Oct. 25.

“He gave us a couple pieces of the puzzle. We have an idea. We just can’t prove it. We’re working on it,” Griffet said. “He was tied to that residence on Winston where the gun was recovered. That’s why the warrant was issued. We wanted to get him picked up on that and talk to him about the homicide. We are still doing what we can to find any possible witnesses to that event.”  Police believe Mr. Hedrick’s shooting may have resulted from a fight that took place at an after-hours party at Butler’s home.  Also staying there was Harvey Blakely, 29, who has been charged with drug offenses.

Blakely was the host of the after-hours party, police said. He was arrested that Saturday and charged the following Monday with unlawful possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine, both Class 1 felonies. Police found about 11 grams total of suspected cocaine and heroin in several individually wrapped bags under a mattress in the room they believe was Blakely’s. He remains in the Champaign County Jail in lieu of $510,000 bond and is due back in court next week.

Court records from Champaign County show Butler has previous convictions for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and burglary.

Butler was expected to make a court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

11/9/2014 - Tips to Help Prevent Residential Burglaries

From Rantoul Police:

The Rantoul Police Department is also reminding residents of the following tips to help prevent burglaries from occurring:

• Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase, original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home. This is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques.  Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.

• Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.  Deadbolts are good for outside doors.

• Keep your garage door, fence gates and sheds/storage buildings closed and locked. Regrettably, this should be done even when you are at home.  Side gates allow thieves easy access to the back of your house, away and out of sight from the street.  Not only are these areas full of valuable and easy-to-steal tools, but they usually contain implements that thieves can use to break into your home. Always lock doors between your house and garage.

• Do not let newspapers or mail pile up while you are away. Place a hold on these items or have someone collect them for you while you are away.

• Don’t advertise the property you have recently purchased or received as a gift. Put the boxes in a trash bag or trash container. If you leave them out, anyone can see what you now have inside your residence.

• Beware of “pretextual contacts”, such as individuals knocking on your door soliciting work, looking for a lost animal or stating that they thought a friend lived at the residence. These could be efforts to determine whether the home is unoccupied at the time. Take note of the direction in which the person walks, as well as any vehicles in which they enter, and notify the police of same.

10/21/2014 - Suspect Turns Himself Into Police after Crime Stoppers Feature

(Reprinted article from October 21, 2014 News-Gazette)

Crimestoppers alert leads to charge

Sammy Boykins, 46, of the 1200 block of Dorrie Miller Drive, was criminally charged Tuesday with theft with a prior theft conviction in connection with the theft of a backpack on Sept. 29.
University of Illinois police Sgt. Tom Geis said about 2:50 p.m. that day, an officer was sent to the basement of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., U, where a woman reported her backpack had been stolen from an employees’ area at Einstein Bagels. Another employee saw a man in that area and when the employee spoke to the man, he took off.

Geis said the backpack with all its contents was recovered the next day in another UI building nearby. Police circulated surveillance video that clearly showed the alleged thief’s face to other police officers before making it the subject of Monday’s Crimestoppers. Geis said two police employees believed the man was Boykins. 

Boykins turned himself in Monday at the Champaign police station. Geis said he admitted that he took the backpack in search of something value to sell so he could buy drugs. There was nothing of value to him in the bag, Geis said.


9/26/2014 - Crime Stoppers Tips Leads to Arrest of Suspected Bank Robber

News-Gazette Article:

Suspected bank robber in custody

Champaign police said Michael Alexander, 37, who listed an address in Rantoul, was arrested Monday in Indianapolis by the U.S. Marshal`s Task Force on a warrant issued by a Champaign County judge last Friday.

Alexander was charged with two counts of aggravated robbery for the holdups of the Illini Arcade, 33 E. Springfield Ave., on Sept. 12, and the First Midwest Bank, 812 W. Springfield Ave. on Sept. 15.

Sgt. Dennis Baltzell said the robbery of the adult bookstore took place about 11:30 p.m. on Sept 12. In that incident, the robber followed the female clerk behind the counter and then implied that he had a weapon and ordered her to open the cash drawer.

Baltzell said the woman, 23, did as the robber ordered and he made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. She wasn`t physically hurt.

On the following Monday, a robber entered the bank around 3:20 p.m., handed over a note and implied — but did not display — a weapon. He then left on foot.

In both holdups, the robber made off with undisclosed amounts of cash. Baltzell said none of that was recovered.

After the bank holdup, police made public surveillance video pictures of the robber that prompted several calls to Crimestoppers.

Baltzell praised those callers for coming forward.

"Eventually, it would have gotten solved but they were the ones who got the ball rolling and we were able to tie the two cases together and make the suspect identification," said the police detective.

Police also collected physical evidence from both crime scenes that Baltzell said strengthened their cases against Alexander.

Judge Richard Klaus set bond on the warrant at $1 million.

Alexander was arrested without incident at the home of an acquaintance.

"I think the marshals were on him before he knew what happened," said Baltzell.

It will likely be months before Alexander gets returned to Illinois.

He is being held in the Marion County, Indiana, jail on Champaign County`s warrant. He is also being held on a Vigo County, Indiana, arrest warrant for robbery and for an alleged violation of the parole he`s currently serving from a prior Indiana criminal conviction.

"He will have to finish up his parole and deal with the new charge (in Indiana) so I`m not sure when we`ll get a crack at him," Baltzell said.


5/29/2014 - Board Honors Resigning Member

At their May 29, 2014, monthly board meeting, Champaign County Crime Stoppers thanked and congratulated retiring Board member Jeff Cullers for his energy and faithful service to the local and State Crime Stoppers organizations. 


President John Hecker thanks Jeff Cullers for his service to Crime StoppersPresident John Hecker and Board Member Jeff Cullers

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