MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police say an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers helped them put a serial robber behind bars.

Investigators say someone recognized Lamonte Lee Douglas Gross in surveillance video. Police say Gross had a history of armed robbery. He was released from prison, and weeks later they say he went back to his old tricks.

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Police say Gross was responsible for holding up several bars in Crime Stoppers.

That picture was worth a thousand dollars to some anonymous caller who recognized the man with a gun holding up the Nightcap Bar. Police say each time he walked into a bar to rob it, he got more violent.

“As these robberies were going on they became more brazen one where an actual gun was discharged into the air,” Minneapolis Police Public Information Officer John Elder said.

Minneapolis Police went to Crime Stoppers, asking for the public’s help in finding the gun-toting robber.

“Some people just simply don’t want to talk to police,” Elder said. “They have information and they want to help get these people off of the streets — these people who are causing havoc and fear and crimes.”

Crime stoppers board chair Bob Dennistoun says it’s not about the reward, but anonymity.

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“People can come forward. It’s low impact on them. It’s anonymous,” Dennistoun said. “They can go on the web they can use a smart phone app they can text message us.”

Crime stoppers communicates electronically with the tipster. If a reward is given, that too is done anonymously.

The tip caller in this case helped get Lamonte Lee Douglas Gross off the streets. Gross is charged with three counts of aggravated robbery.

Dennistoun says people are looking for ways to take back their communities from criminals, and using crime stoppers is one way to accomplish that.

“The first six months of last year we’re running 25 percent more tips for that same period of time,” Dennistoun said.

Crime stoppers is a non-profit organization that takes donations, which have led to a very large reward still being offered for a crime that touched many across the metro.

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A $60,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for killing 3-year-old Terrell Mayes. If you think you can help, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800 222-8477 or 1-800-222-TIPS.

Reg Chapman