Johnny Cash’s most famous lyric is, arguably, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” The line from “Folsom Prison Blues” is not, one might think, the kind of thing you’d hear from a fundraiser to help fight crime.
Sheriff Ron Cramer thinks it will fit just fine.
Cramer and his department are supportive of the Oct. 9 concert by Terry Lee Goffee, a Johnny Cash tribute artist, and the organization that’s putting it on. He said Crime Stoppers, an anonymous tip line, is a significant asset.
Cramer said the tip line has received calls in recent months about the rise in catalytic converter thefts. Other tips identify drug sales.
“Sometimes we’ll get video. We’ll get license plate numbers. That’s always good information for our investigations,” he said.
Barbara Teslaw, one of the driving forces behind the Eau Claire County Crime Stoppers, said October is National Crime Prevention Month, which made it a natural fit for the organization’s fundraiser.
“We’re dedicated to creating a safer community through anonymous crime reporting and community education,” she said. But running the phone line and the website costs money. The organization’s hope is that this concert can give it a real boost.
Anonymous tips can’t make a case alone, but Cramer said they can be a big help. He gave an example where a caller noticed people coming and going from a house at odd hours. The person kept track and was able to give authorities a good accounting of the activity.
That record helped investigators show a pattern when they went to court to get a warrant. Linking vehicles owned by known offenders to the location and the times they were there helped convince a judge to issue the warrant. The search found the drug sales evidence officers expected.
“People call, frustrated, saying ‘What can we do?’ (Crime Stoppers is) one of the first things we tell them,” Cramer said. “We’ve been so blessed with Barb and her folks who organize Crime Stoppers.”
For her part, Teslaw said the organization always needs new volunteers. And just about anyone can be of assistance.
“I’m retired, and I’m still working to make the community safer,” she said.
The Crime Stoppers tip line is (715) 874-TIPS. It’s also online at eauclairecountycrimestoppers.org.
The concert by Goffee takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Memorial High School’s auditorium, 225 Keith St. Doors open an hour before the show, and tickets are $15 at the door.