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Crime Stoppers offers reward for information on hay fires

October 27, 2001

Crime Stoppers, a group of local farmers, businessmen and law enforcement that formed a coalition in the early 1990s due to an increase in haystack fires, is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a haystack arsonist.

When it began, the group decided to raise money to offer rewards to anyone who would offer information that led to the conviction of haystack arsonists. Spectrum in El Centro donated the catchy slogan, "Burn a bale go to jail," which was printed on bumper stickers and posters and distributed throughout the Valley. The reward program proved helpful in bringing arsonists to justice, say local law enforcement agency officials.

Haystack fires again have been on the rise in the Valley and the campaign has been revived.

"It certainly worked in the past and I have faith that the concerned citizens of Imperial Valley will make sure it works again," said county Sheriff-Coroner Harold Carter.

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Allen Tyler of Tyler-Hart Insurance in El Centro originally took on the task to raise the reward money in the early 1990s.

He noted, "It is really gratifying to see new participants contributing funds to keep the program going."

To submit information, call Crime Stoppers at 339-6333 or log onto the Sheriff's Office Web site at www.icso.org and click on the "Special Crime Alert" link to report suspicious activity regarding haystacks.

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