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Connects Against Crime: Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Celebrates One Year

WATERLOO, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- For years, Black Hawk County had the distinction of being the largest population area in Iowa without a Crime Stoppers program.

That changed last year, with the birth of Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers.

As we first showed you last year, the idea that left some skeptical, but fast forward 12 months later and Investigator Brice Lippert says the program has taken off.

“Luckily I think the community has accepted us,” Lippert said. “We were able to see success in other parts of the state, and thought of it could work there, it could work here.”

So far, tips to crime stoppers have resulted in 60 arrests, some as far away as Mississippi and Oklahoma. They've also paid out $7,500 dollars in reward money.

For Willie Lumpkin, the impact goes beyond the numbers. Back in 1989, his brother JoJo Zolliecoffer disappeared.

“The family all around couldn't believe what happened,” Lumpkin said.

Days later his body was found in the Cedar River.

“We thought that we would find him beat up or something, but that's not the case,” Lumpkin said.

Almost 25 years after Jo Jo's body was pulled here from the river, a call from the newly formed crime stoppers gave his family renewed hope that justice would one day be served.

“With crime stoppers coming back in, re-opening the case, we got our hopes back up as to getting Jo Jo some peace," Lumpkin said.

It's one of several cold cases that crime stoppers has taken on, and people are sending in tips.

“There's just certain stories that touch a nerve with the public, and when those pop up the public has been really great about calling in,” Lippert said.

Showing that the work of crime stoppers is providing hope for the community now, and for some hope for the future.

“We just hope a lot more people will come forward and get with crime stoppers and help us get this case solved,” Lumpkin said.

To take a look at the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Website, visit
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