Crime Alert Berks County's founding president to step aside

'It truly has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me,' Barry Rohrbach says

Crime Alert's president to step aside; WFMZ's Amanda VanAllen reports

WYOMISSING, Pa. - The leader of Pennsylvania's top crime stoppers organization is preparing to step aside from the group he founded nearly 18 years ago.

A tearful Barry Rohrbach announced his retirement as president of Crime Alert Berks County during the monthly meeting of the volunteer group's executive board at the Wyomissing Family Restaurant on Tuesday.

His retirement will take effect Dec. 31.

"This has been a tremendous journey for me, as well as this wonderful organization, for the past 18 years and it is a most difficult decision to make," Rohrbach said in his prepared letter to the board. "It truly has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me."

Rohrbach, a former police officer and Cumru Township commissioner, founded Crime Alert in 1998. Since then, tips to the nonprofit organization have helped police in Berks County make 632 arrests, including several for high-profile crimes.

"The person that pushed a car into, on the railroad tracks over in Sinking Spring and four people were killed, and we solved that murder," Rohrbach said, citing the crime in April 2000 as one of Crime Alert's greatest accomplishments.

Carlos Diaz pushed his ex-girlfriend and three others in her car in front of freight train. Crime Alert got the tip that led police to arrest Diaz the next day.

"He's serving now a life sentence," Rohrbach said. "He will never get out of prison again."

Despite his many success stories, Rohrbach said there is one case that still needs to be solved.

"Hopefully, someday, we will get the person or persons that murdered Gary Redner, and that will be closure then for the Redner family," he said.

Earlier this year, Crime Alert launched a new method for people to submit anonymous tips. In addition to the 877-373-9913 phone number, tips can also be reported via text to 847411, starting the message with keyword alertberks.

Crime Alert also spearheads a number of community events, including the annual "Shop with a Cop" at Boscov's, a "Can the Crooks" donation drive for the Greater Berks Food Bank, and a themed poster contest for elementary school students in Berks County.

"I thought it was time now for somebody else to take over with new ideas and maybe take us where we will even go better and higher," Rohrbach told 69 News.

The organization's executive board has formed a committee, led by its solicitor John Stott, to oversee the process of transitioning to new leadership in 2017 and beyond.

For the past 11 years, Crime Alert said it has been Pennsylvania's top crime stoppers program in terms of money paid out for tips that lead to arrests.

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