Pedophiles beware: New tool in police arsenal
Members of the Barry-Lawrence chapter of Crime Stoppers reviewed local criminal activity taking place in the bi-county area, with area law enforcement asking local residents to keep the tips coming.
“We have had several [tips] on LaTosha Keith, but she always seems to be on the move, or they report that she has just left a location, which is not helpful,” said Jay Jastal, school resource officer and public communications officer with the Monett Police Department. “We really appreciate the calls, and ask that people keep them coming. We are also asking people keep their eyes open and report suspicious behavior.”
Jastal also reported making significant headway on the incident of vandalism at Burl Fowler Stadium in Monett.
Melissa Phillips, with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, reported a series of catalytic thefts and break-ins near Miller had been solved and the suspects arrested and charged.
“They already had charges pending for previously breaking into the same location,” she said. “Most of the vehicle theft reports we have been receiving lately have actually been repossessions. “
Phillips also noted over the Fourth of July holiday, only one field fire had been attributed to fireworks gone awry.
“That was over by Marionville,” she said. “It did not amount to much.”
Jastal reported on a unique type of law enforcement canine, trained to sniff out electronics.
“This is Bonnie,” he said, displaying a photo of the dog. “She is a ESD — electronics sniffing dog. She has been trained to sniff out a specific material that is used in all forms of electronic devices, such as computers, camera chips and USB devices. We know those trafficking in child pornography use removable devices to store their images on so they do not get caught. This changes things for pedophiles. Bonnie is one of only a few dogs in the nation trained for sniffing out electronics.”
Bonnie is currently assigned to law enforcement in St. Charles.
Jastal noted that the Monett Police Department, in collaboration with other agencies, is willing to promote a series of theft prevention tips through environmental design for area civic groups, churches and other organizations.
“We can tailor each presentation to the organization requesting the information,” he said. “Whether it is a business, church or community. These tips include information such as strategic placement of landscape plants, to discourage those who would try to break into a building, or night lighting areas to encourage crime prevention.”
Anyone interested in the presentations may contact Jastal at the Monett Police Department at 417-235-4241.
Jackie Lowe, Purdy Police Chief, was unavailable for the meeting, but sent information concerning several vehicle thefts in that community, one of which resulted in the theft of a handgun.
At this point, Purdy officers have no leads and ask area residents to call the Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers at 417-354-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-635-TIPS (8477) with information relating to the thefts. Rewards are given for information leading to the arrest of felons. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
Members also voted unanimously to have Donna Becket continue in her position as secretary to the board.
The next meeting of the Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers will be at noon on Aug. 15, at Angus Branch Restaurant in Monett.