COLUMBUS, Ohio - Police agencies and Crime Stoppers organization have no records of guns collected from highly publicized illegal gun tip program.
Mayor Coleman's Office introduced the Gun Stoppers program to much fan-fare in 2010. The streets of Columbus filled with people protesting over 70 murders in 2010. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman pledged action. The program run jointly by the city and Crime Stoppers.
Recently, the former director Crime Stoppers accused city leadership of trying to dictate how the group utilized the grant money. 10 Investigates dug into those claims, and found a history of possible mismanagement and broken promises.
Gun Stoppers program gave cash rewards up to $1,000 for "tips that lead to an arrest and the confiscation of an illegal gun." A $50,000 federal grant paid for Gun Stoppers. Recently, Crime Stoppers director Kevin Miles claimed: "I can tell you there wasn't a single gun turned in but I do know that they reported there was guns that were recovered with money from that program."
Gun Stoppers did pay out $19,000 to tipsters for information that lead to the arrests of murderers, robbers, and other violent criminals Police Agency representatives said they were not directly involved with the program and said have no records of guns associated with the Gun Stoppers program.
Case files show that some of the cases were where no guns were used in commission of the crime. Crime Stoppers also says they don't have any information on guns collected by their Gun Stopper program
Columbus Public Safety's Deputy Director could not give an exact answer. When asked how many guns were taken off Columbus streets through Gun Stoppers, Dan Giangardella answered, “I don’t have an exact count for that. Dozens?”
Mayor Coleman once gave public congratulations for Gun Stoppers. Now, Giangardella has this to say about the program: "We could say it was a mildly successful program.”
10 Investigates is looking into claims that in addition to poor record keeping, political favoritism also affected how Gun Stoppers spent taxpayer money. Watch 10TV at 5:45 for the latest on what 10 Investigates uncovered.