'Five Most Wanted' listed on Internet

The Moffat County Sheriff's office soon will be changing the lineup on its online "Five Most Wanted" list, according to K.C. Hume, the sheriff's chief investigator.

Although individuals remain wanted, Hume will be updating the list to reflect some fresh faces.

"We look at active warrants out of our agency and look at individuals involved in the higher profile crimes," Hume said.

Sheriff Buddy Grinstead put Hume in charge of maintaining the list, which resides on the Web at moffatcountysheriff.com under the "Investigations" section.

"Crimes against persons take precedence," Grinstead said, explaining the criteria for listing a suspect. Property crimes usually are less likely to get one on the most wanted list. But, if a suspect has been a fugitive for some time, or if officers think the suspect may be in the area and simply "eluding our arm of the law," the sheriff's office may rotate that suspect onto the list to generate some leads, Grinstead said.

Citizens can use the "Hot Tips" link on the "most wanted" page of the Web site to volunteer information about suspects or their whereabouts. The link presents the user with a form, where one can type in a tip and submit it anonymously, if one prefers. The form also accommodates aliases, which the sheriff's office can refer to later when doling out reward money, for example.

Hume said it is critical to offer anonymity to those submitting tips.

"To have a successful program, you have to afford the public the opportunity to remain anonymous," Hume said. "We don't track any (personal) information through IP address or other avenues to reveal identities."

In the past, programs that publicize sought-after suspects have been quite valuable, Hume said. He estimates that 70 percent of the fugitives the sheriff's office has featured in the "Fugitive of the Week" in the Craig Daily Press were apprehended.

Speaking about tips from the public, Hume said, "They're invaluable. The public's input or information can be of great benefit. It's a whole new resource for officers."

Even if citizens don't have information that spawns an arrest, often the pieces start to come together to form solid leads. Grinstead said it is "more fuel for the fire," that helps develop a case.

"If you didn't have the public's help, law enforcement would be very tough," said Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg. "You never know what it could generate."

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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