The chairman of the Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers, John Strong, announced at the November meeting of the chapter that he is stepping down, citing health and personal reasons.
The move leaves the Crime Stoppers board seeking a replacement, who is not an active member of law enforcement, to lead the organization.
The resignation was effective as of Nov 28. Strong said he will continue to attend the meetings and support the organizations whenever possible.
Lisa Balmas, president of UMB Bank and Crime Stoppers board member, presented Strong a ceremonial award in recognition of his loyalty and dedication to the Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers since it was founded five years ago.
Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder reported that the number of burglaries was on the rise in the area, citing the theft of over 2,000 feet of electrical cabling from the Monett Festival of Lights display.
"It's that time of year," Schweder said. "We've had 22 reports since September. This close to the holiday, people will start trying to steal other people's Christmas presents."
Schweder said members of the public should take care to store packages securely in the trunk of a vehicle instead of inside the passenger area, saying thieves would not hesitate to break a window to get to items left unattended.
Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay agreed, saying crime numbers were on the rise throughout the county.
Monett's School Resource Officer Jay Jastal has requested the purchase of an internet-connected electronic photo frame so Crime Stoppers suspect's wanted posters could be uploaded to the device immediately. The frame would be placed for public viewing in the lobby of the Monett Justice Center, located at 1901 E. Cleveland Ave.
The Barry-Lawrence Crime Stoppers tip line received a handful of tips in November on suspects wanted for questioning by members of Law enforcement.
Board members have scheduled a strategy meeting to discuss a new chairman and membership.