KENHORST, Pa. - A man who police said assassinated his victim next to a playground full of children is behind bars, thanks to an anonymous tip.
Police on Friday gave credit to Crime Alert Berks County and a tip the crime stoppers group received last week for leading to the capture of Jaquill Blake.
"Berks County Crime Alert doesn't get the appreciation or the accolades that they deserve," said Drexler. "And basically because the information that gets called in is anonymous, and certainly police are not going to divulge anything of who or where it comes from."
U.S. Marshals nabbed Blake, 19, Wednesday night as he walked to a store in Hollywood, Florida. He's being held without bail pending his return to Pennsylvania on charges of first and third degree murder.
Police said Blake shot and killed Alexis Rosario in the 1200 block of Avenue C in the Glenside section of Reading on April 14. Drexler described the killing as an assassination, saying Rosario was shot seven times at close range.
"Without this informant's tip, they would have never caught this guy," said Ron Dunkelberger, a vice president of Crime Alert Berks County. "So, he'd be? he'd be loose on the street to do more damage than what he's done."
While it could be another week or so before police know whether Blake will fight his extradition to Pennsylvania, they said they're just happy he's behind bars.
"We have so many of our homicides or serious crimes that occur and we do not get anything as far as help from the people, and that's where we need the information from," said Drexler. "Berks County Crime Alert is that little step that helps us where people will call."
Two Reading detectives are scheduled to travel to Florida on Sunday to meet with Blake.
Drexler announced Crime Alert Berks County's role in the arrest during a fund raising event for the crime stoppers organization at the Dairy Queen in Kenhorst on Friday. It was broadcast live on WEEU's "Feedback" program, hosted by Mike Faust.
The DQ franchise owner, Hamid Chaudhry, will host a similar event for Crime Alert at his other restaurant at Route 422 and Lincoln Road in Exeter Township on July 1 from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
Crime Alert Berks County was formed in August 1998 and offers cash rewards of up to $5,000 for information that helps police make an arrest in a crime. Up to $10,000 is offered in homicide cases.
Tips to Crime Alert Berks County have resulted in nearly 450 arrests since the group's inception. Close to $250,000 in tip money has been paid out during that time.
The toll-free tipline is 877-373-9913.
Barry Rohrbach, president of Crime Alert Berks County, said the non-profit, all-volunteer group will celebrate the start of its 14th year with another live broadcast on "Feedback" on August 1 from 9 a.m. until noon at A to Z Vacuum and Fan Store on Penn Avenue in West Reading.
Allentown, PA 18102