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Sheriff Dart Hails Online Crime Tips As “Wave Of The Future”

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Larry Ankum and Denzel Edwards (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Larry Ankum and Denzel Edwards (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Cook County Sheriff’s police credited a new online crime tips feature with helping solve the murder of a college student.

Sheriff Tom Dart said the new program is “the wave of the future.”

An anonymous tip led to murder charges against two suspects in the shooting death of former Proviso East High School star athlete DeShawn McCarthy.

“It’s just a more convenient way for some people to talk these days. I can’t tell you how many people I know that I think have given up on physically talking to people, and every communication is through text and email, so this is tying into that as well,” Dart said.

McCarthy was shot and killed in Maywood two months ago, while riding in a car with friends. He was on the football, basketball and track teams at Proviso East before graduating last year.

He had just finished his freshman year at Dakota College in Bottineau, North Dakota, and was back home for summer break.

Two weeks after he was shot, sheriff’s police received an anonymous tip through their website, and passed that information on to Maywood police.

That information led to the arrest of 28-year-old Larry Ankum, who was charged with murder, and has been in custody since late June. A second man, 20-year-old Denzel Edwards, also was charged with murder.

Ankum was being held without bond. Edwards’ bond was set at $750,000, according to jail records.

Dart said the sheriff’s office has received scores of tips since launching the program in April. He said a big problem with solving crimes is people being reluctant to come forward with information, and doing so anonymously online is more comfortable for some people.

“I think it allows people to feel even more anonymous,” Dart said.

Maywood Police Cmdr. Elijah Willis said, “I think it’s going to be a big asset to a lot of the agencies.”

Sheriff’s Lt. John Blair, director of the intelligence center at the jail complex, was running reporters through the crime tips program Tuesday morning when a new tip came in – the 151st since the program started.

Dart said he believes anonymous tips at cookcountysheriff.org will chip away at the so-called “code of silence” that hampers so many investigations.

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