Just a quick update today on the crime story I wrote last week. You'll remember the criminal was a drug user who stole money from a Norristown volunteer organization in August, then was arrested by 4 different police departments in the last 3 months, on 6 felony charges. Each time he was given unsecured bail and allowed to walk without paying anything. He didn't show for a court appearance in October, but a contempt charge and warrant were never issued.
Yesterday, he was to have 2 court appearances. He skipped bail and didn't show up for either. Big surprise. But at least this time 2 bench warrants were issued for contempt.
Montgomery County now lists their active bench warrants online and the list is pretty depressing. There are more than 4000 warrants outstanding in the county, some more than 20 years old. If you search on those who listed Norristown addresses, you get more than 800 names. Much of it, I assume, is because Montco courts keep letting criminals walk away after their arraignments, with no incentive, like having to pay a percentage of bail, for them to come back for their trials.
One would assume that most of these criminals are long gone, but really, in this day and age, no one can fly under the radar for long, and most criminals aren't smart enough to be good at it. Would it be such a bad use of our tax money to have someone spend a few days matching social security numbers, addresses, drivers' licenses, etc, to find out if these people are still in the area? Pay me minimum wage, give me access to the records, and I'd do it.
But if you want to do your part, go to the bench warrants list, press Ctrl-F, and type in the name of your street. You can go through the list that way, checking for addresses on your block. If you know that the person listed still lives at that address, you can click on the last name to submit a tip to the sheriff's department. You can also search by last name and city. Tips are kept confidential.