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Crime Solvers website overhauled

May 09, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- Franklin County (Pa.) Crime Solvers is turning to the Internet to solicit information about some of the county's unsolved cases.

The Crime Solvers website, http://www.franklincountycrimesolvers.org, received an overhaul in recent months. Not only does the site provide information about cases and how to call in tips, it also now allows visitors to electronically submit tips.

Information leading to arrests can result in monetary rewards.

"Our primary goal is to assist law enforcement by quickly and widely publicizing the most current information we can about unsolved crimes in Franklin County," said Bill Blednick, vice chairman of Crime Solvers.

On Sunday, the website profiled two robberies and a theft from a Walmart store on its homepage. Several other incidents were listed under the "cases" tab.

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Blednick said Crime Solvers also launched a Facebook initiative tied to the upgraded website. The organization, which is funded through state grants and fundraisers, wants to get as many people visiting its website and following it on Facebook as possible.

The Internet resources generated five tips in the past month, Blednick said.

"People are looking at it," he said.

James Walker, a student at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, volunteers as the technical consultant for Crime Solvers.

"I'm definitely happy with (the site). It's come a long way, but there's still a lot I want to do," Walker said, saying he views the site as a constant work in progress.

Police send information to Walker, who said he often posts the details within an hour of them being sent. Two women reportedly turned themselves in after Crime Solvers disseminated a photograph in connection to a Walmart theft, he said.

"That's the end goal," Walker said. "I felt pretty accomplished with that."

Founded in 1982, Crime Solvers' role is to pay rewards for information leading to the arrest of perpetrators of Franklin County crimes. The nonprofit organization works in cooperation with law enforcement agencies in the county.

Tips can be submitted anonymously, which Blednick said he feels is an important aspect of the program.

"Much of the information has come to us in the way of anonymous tips that would never have been known if the tipster felt they had to identify themselves," he said.

Visitors to the site also can donate to Crime Solvers through PayPal, Blednick said.

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