You've probably stayed up late watching some television special about a criminal in your area and seen the announcement near the end: "If you have any information, call our tipline." The authorities might even offer a reward of some kind. But what are the chances that you might actually know of the person they're looking for?

People shared their stories after Redditor Renzot56 asked the online community,

"Has anyone here ever actually called into one of the FBI rewards for information on criminals and won the money?"

"My neighbor down the road..."

"My neighbor down the road growing up was always getting into trouble. One day someone robbed a gas station with a gun, and accidentally shot the clerk (so he claimed), and the police didn't know who did it. After about a month, they offered up a small reward for information. The guy arranged to have his wife turn him in to collect the reward, because she would need it since he knew he was going away for a long time."


"Accidentally," huh?

A likely story!

"I felt pretty good..."

"Ten years ago I'm working front desk at this third rate motel and I'm the only employee on property until 7am.

So I get this report of an unruly guest and check it out. Dudes whacked out on something, threatening other guests and I call the cops to remove him. On their way out they tell me he's got active warrants in another state.

I don't think anything of until three months later I got a check sent to me at work from a sheriff's office two states over. Turns out the guy was wanted for a double murder and I got the reward when he was convicted. I felt pretty good about that."


"Both times..."

"My sister has a pretty weird hobby - she solves cold cases by helping match descriptions of bodies that have never been positively ID'd to missing persons matching the body's description. She's solved several cases and submits them to the FBI tip line. Twice now, she's gotten phone calls from law enforcement as a result, one from the FBI and one from a local police department. One had reward money tied to it from long, long ago. She turned it down.

Both times, she's informed the agency calling that the missing person disappeared before she was 10 years old (that's her limit, she doesn't look at recent cases to avoid potential problems), and they just kinda shrug and move on. That's all."


I think I'd be pretty proud if I had Nancy Drew as a sister. Well done!

"I made an anonymous tip..."

"I made an anonymous tip to a local library about someone posting online about wanting to do something sexual in the bathroom of the library.

Local police and FBI gave me a call on my actual number (not the one I used to call in the tip) and asked me a few questions.

Turns out they set up a raid and caught some 19-year old who was trying to meet kids online. Got $500 and they offered to pay me to go on apps/websites like Craigslist and such to find the same kind of people. Was pretty cool."


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"In college..."

"In college, we had a drive-by shooting on my block. The police showed up and asked all the neighbors if they had any information. I had just heard the shots from my house and wasn't able to help.

A few days later I was walking home from class and I found a shell casing the in the grass near where the shooting was. I didn't want to touch it so I got home and called the police. I was very very specific about exactly where the shell casing was, and that I DO NOT want the police to come to my door. The neighbors were pretty sketchy people and I just didn't want to be seen being involved.

Well, these cops walked right to my door and asked for me. I told them exactly where to find it (again), they walked to the general area, looked for maybe a minute, then walked back to my front door and asked if I could show where it was. Goddamit. So I led them to shell casing while the sketchy neighbors stood on their porch and watched (looking very displeased).

Apparently, the fingerprints on the casing matched one of their suspects and he was arrested and went to jail. The cops stopped by a few months later with a $20 gift card to a sub shop."


All that for $20?

The nerve.

"When living in Minneapolis..."

"When living in Minneapolis, I saw a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate that specifically worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport and had a badge that allowed them to access beyond security.

I alerted the FBI and Minneapolis police through their tip line. Never heard from either of them."


"I'm sure a bunch of people..."

"I called CrimeStoppers once. The local news released a video of someone violently robbing a store. They beat up the cashier pretty badly.

I knew it the second the video started who it was—a guy I used to party with and had spent the night with a few times.

The CrimeStopper folks gave me a number to write down to claim the money if he was convicted. I wrote it on my hand then washed it off accidentally like an idiot. It was on the smaller side, I think around $1k, but it would have made a big difference at the time. And the guy did end up getting convicted and is still in prison now.

I'm sure a bunch of people called in, though, so I don't know how much I would have gotten. Anyone who grew up in my area who was around my age would have known the guy."


A long time ago..."

"A long time ago, 20+ years, a nearby bank was robbed at gunpoint. The article had a very good photo of the guy. Turns out, he was my sketchy neighbor. Saw him that morning, he was still wearing what was shown in the photo.

Long story short, cops bust him, he goes away for a long hitch, they said a small reward is available. Told them to donate it to a nearby animal shelter. Everyone wins! Well, almost everyone."


The animals certainly won this one! Good for them.

"I've sent a few..."

"I've sent a few tips to the FBI over Internet fraud over the years and have never gotten anything other than an automated response and certainly no rewards."


The FBI might want to do something more than just leaving automated messages for their tip line. Who knows? The answer to some long-unsolved cases might be out there... just a phone call away.

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

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