Crime Stoppers to increase Gilgo reward

Nick Amarr, Suffolk County Crime Stoppers president, stands

Nick Amarr, Suffolk County Crime Stoppers president, stands next to a sign on the Robert Moses Causeway advising motorists to call if they have a tip about the serial killer murders. (April 22, 2011) (Credit: James Carbone)

A record-high reward is being raised to help prompt someone to give police information leading them to the Gilgo Beach serial killer.

With police calling for the public's help in solving the case, Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is close to being able to offer a reward several times greater than the current maximum, said Nick Amarr, the nonprofit group's president.

"We're hoping that . . . one of the victims said something to a friend, a girlfriend, about where they were going or who they were meeting," Amarr said. "We don't have that critical person right now . . . but we believe they could be out there."

The fundraising effort comes as Nassau police Friday found two human teeth in an area where a human skull had been found April 11.

Crime Stoppers board members have in recent weeks made "an aggressive push" for private donations to back the "special situation reward," Amarr said.

He and others declined to name an exact target figure but said it was five figures and several times more than the current high of $5,000.

"Our goal is to raise enough funds to offer a very substantial reward, the largest ever in the county," Amarr said.

In the Gilgo case, "everybody seems to know something, it's in their backyards," said Crime Stoppers rewards chairman Loring Miller. "It's not one murder or even three murders, it's a lot more, and everyone is unnerved."

In December, Suffolk police found the skeletons of four women along Ocean Parkway. All went missing between 2007 and last year while working as prostitutes.

Investigators in March and earlier this month recovered four more sets of remains -- one of them a young child -- near the parkway. An expanded search into Nassau later turned up a skull and, separately, a plastic bag of human bones. None of the recent remains in Suffolk or Nassau have been identified, and it remains unclear if they will prove to be connected to the initial four finds.

The two teeth found Friday were located in a Tobay Beach wildlife sanctuary, within two feet of where an incomplete human skull had been found. The teeth and the skull are likely from the same person, police said.

Last year, Suffolk Crime Stopper tips led to 151 arrests, up nearly 40 percent from the previous year, according to the organization. A total of $42,825 in reward money was paid, the highest since the county organization's founding in 1994.

More than 800 tips have come in for the Gilgo case in the past three weeks alone, ranging from the highly dubious to the potentially fruitful, Amarr said. "They're getting inundated with calls, calls from out of state, calls from other countries," he said.

Police Commissioner Richard Dormer called the program "a critical tool" for the Gilgo case and others.

With Matthew Chayes

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