CLEVELAND -- Information about wanted fugitives in Northeast Ohio can now be texted anomymously to the U.S. Marshals Service. Tips can also be submitted on the internet.
United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, Peter J. Elliott, called the addition of web and texted tips "another tool to help keep the neighborhoods of Northeast Ohio safe."
The text messaging option is in addition to the U.S. Marshals fugitive hotline number, 1-866-4-WANTED. In both methods, tipsters can remain anonymous and still qualify for reward money from the U.S. Marshal's Service.
Those with information about the Fugitive of the Week, or any wanted fugitives throughout Northeast Ohio, can enter the address tip411 on their mobile device (847411). The message should begin with the keyword WANTED, followed by the information about the fugitive.
Tipsters can also view fugitives on a special web page. Once on the site, they have the ability to click and submit a tip about any of the fugitives currently being sought by the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.
"These new tools provide the public with yet another method of delivering valuable information to our Task Force, to utilitze when pursuing these wanted violent fugitives," said Elliott. "We are optimistic that this will lead to many arrests as our phone tip line as thus far."
Since the inception of the Fugitive of the Week program on WKYC-TV nine years ago, approximately 75 percent of the fugitives features on television on on wkyc.com have been captured, thanks to tips from viewers.
The technology for the text message tips comes from a company called Citizen Observer, which specializes in providing the service to law enforcement agencies. They guarantee that the tipster and the tipster's phone number remain anonymous to law enforcement, unless the tipsters want to identify themselves.