HALIFAX - A Nova Scotia program designed to help police crack unsolved crimes has paid out its first cash reward, says the head of the province's Justice Department.
An unidentified tipster received $150,000 through Nova Scotia's Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program for providing information that led to the conviction of two men in the 2011 murder of Melissa Dawn Peacock, Justice Minister Lena Diab said Thursday.
Dustan Joseph Preeper and Joshua Michael Preeper received life sentences after pleading guilty last month to first-degree murder and second-degree murder, respectively.
"Money talks," said Diab, describing the rewards program as both efficient and necessary for the province.
The program was introduced in 2006 to help with investigations into cases that had gone cold.
"No tip is too small," said Diab. "Every piece of information is valuable."
Seventy-seven cases have been added to the program since its launch eight years ago. So far, 84 tips have been received, which has led to arrests in three other cases currently before the courts.
An initial payout amount of $50,000 was increased to $150,000 in 2008 to provide increased incentive for tipsters.
"Money is a motivator for some individuals to come forward," said Roger Merrick, the province's director of public safety. "I think that's been proven."
Besides providing closure to victims' families and bringing justice to perpetrators, Merrick said the program also has a financial benefit of wrapping up lengthy and often expensive homicide investigations.
The maximum amount available under the program is $150,000.
Merrick said money has been budgeted for possible cash rewards in the three other cases that have moved forward using information gained through the program.
To qualify for a reward, information must lead to an arrest and conviction.
© Coast Reporter