Last week, Jim Glorioso, the man behind Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers, received an anonymous tip about potential heroin sales in Montgomery County.
Over the course of a few days, he communicated back and forth with the informant, who gave detailed information about the drug sales operation, which Glorioso passed along to New York State Police Troopers in Fonda.
“We already knew who, what, where and when,” Glorioso said on Wednesday. “It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time for the state police.”
Troopers found a vehicle they had been tipped off to on Monday, observed a traffic infraction and made a stop that resulted in the seizure of 100 envelopes of heroin and felony criminal possession charges against Bruce E. St Pierre, 32, and Justin R. Krutz, 36, both of Amsterdam.
“They did a great job of taking the information and then running with it,” Glorioso said.
The arrest was a high-profile success for Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers, an operation Glorioso has been running mostly on his own with a cellphone since last summer.
The non-profit is part of an international network of Crime Stoppers tip lines that partner with law enforcement agencies to help collect anonymous tips in a way that some people find preferable to contacting police directly.
Glorioso, a part-time officer with the Fort Plain Police Department with 13 years of law enforcement experience, founded the organization last May after seeing how effectively Crime Stoppers functioned in other states.
“The police departments out there utilize it like it’s part of the police department,” he said of time spent working in Oklahoma in 2013. “Every time we had an issue, whether it was a robbery or burglary, they were putting it up on Crime Stoppers and people were calling in and they were getting solved.”
In Oklahoma, he said, they have 12 Crime Stoppers organizations. In Texas, they have 48. The 40 other states that have the programs have between 10 and 40 chapters each. Before he founded the Mohawk Valley organization, New York had only one upstate, in Buffalo (the New York City area has three).
Close to a year after founding it, Glorioso now has formal relationships with the Fort Plain Police Department, Amsterdam Police Department, Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police in Fonda. He’ll be launching a new partnership with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department in April, he said.
“The growth is going the way it should— slow and steady so we can manage it properly,” Glorioso said.
Crime Stoppers lets people submit anonymous tips by calling 1-866-730-8477— which connects to Glorioso’s phone without displaying a number or any identifying information— or by visiting http://p3tips.com. They often drive up interest by posting the information they’re seeking on social media.
The organization also sometimes offers rewards, which police departments can’t do. They vary from $50 for smaller crimes to up to $1,000 for tips that lead to an arrest.
Last year, Glorioso said Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers received 109 tips that led to five arrests. This year, they’ve already assisted in six arrests.
The Fort Plain Police Department, where Glorioso works part-time, has been on board since the beginning, said Police Chief Robert Thomas.
“It’s been a great tool to use,” he said. “Some of the warrants are pretty small— failed to pay fine, that kind of thing. But it’s worked. It’s resolved a lot of open cases for us.”
One of those was a case of missing reindeer.
Last December, two decorative reindeer created by volunteers from the local gardening club went missing from a village park. When the police department had exhausted their standard procedures, Thomas said, they turned to Crime Stoppers.
Glorioso posted the information on Crime Stoppers’ Facebook page and had several calls within a few hours. One was a young woman who told the whole story, down to where the suspects lived.
“They were young men that were at a party, over-imbibed a little and got themselves into something they didn’t know how to get out of,” Thomas said.
Police had the two suspects in custody within a few hours. In a panic, the young men had destroyed the reindeer, Thomas said. But they were charged with petit larceny and made to pay restitution, fines and serve community service.
The tipster got $100 for the information, Glorioso said. “Case closed.”
Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.