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Good Question: What Does It Take To Get Reward Money?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the search for Lyle “Ty” Hoffman continues, the reward money for his capture grows.

Whoever helps authorities track down the man who has eluded police for nearly a month will earn $25,000.

Hoffman is accused of killing his former boyfriend and business partner, Kelly Phillips, at an Arden Hills gas station last month.

“A lot of times the first $1,000 will come from Crime Stoppers,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “And then as the information gets out, [it comes from] people from the public.”

Sheriff Stanek says most law enforcement agencies have a partnership with Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that takes tips on cases — often anonymously — and gets the reward money started.

The majority of the reward money actually comes from donations from friends, family and even complete strangers.

When a tip comes in to law enforcement, the caller is given an identification number. And if their tip leads to an arrest or conviction, police let Crime Stoppers know.

“We turn that information over to Crime Stoppers. They objectively, through their own board of directors, make a determination about the payout,” Stanek said.

Sometimes the money is divided up between people. Sometimes an amount is given to a tipster to help them relocate for safety reasons. But Stanek says the entire amount usually isn’t paid out to just one person.

The state of Minnesota actually has a special fund for cold cases, where the reward money is often $50,000 or more.

The reward connected to the unsolved murder of 11-year-old Kevin Brewer in 2000 is now at $150,000.

“The more money that’s put towards it, usually [a] higher rate of success at the end of the day,” he said.

Sheriff Stanek says that in many cases, the entire reward isn’t paid out.

The remaining money usually stays in a revolving fund to help with other cases.

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