U.S. Marshals launch app to anonymously report fugitives

Gazette |

--The public now can anonymously report tips to help U.S. Marshals track down and arrest fugitives through a new mobile and web-based app.

"We value the information that we receive from the public, and wanted to ensure that people could provide that information to us with confidentiality using the USMS Tips app," Jennifer Armstrong, U.S. Marshals Criminal Intelligence Branch chief, said in a statement. "All tip submissions are safe, secure, and discreet."

The marshals also ask the public to use the app to report non-compliant sex offenders and threats affecting the federal judiciary. Using the app, anyone can report convicted sex offenders who fail to register or people who threaten a federal judge, a judicial employee or a court facility.

The app works on Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded from a mobile provider's marketplace.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Nicholas Bonifazi said the Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force targets federal, state and local violent offenders in Iowa.

Numerous anonymous tips directly led to the recent arrest of Andre Richardson, who has been charged with fatally shooting two teens and seriously injuring two others outside a southwest Cedar Rapids smoke shop , Bonifazi said.

Cedar Rapids police and U.S. Marshals Task Force members received information that Richardson was in the 300 block of 22nd Avenue SW on , Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said after Richardson's arrest.

Richardson ran but was tracked with the help of a police dog. Authorities soon captured Richardson, who was bitten by the dog, hiding in a garage at 229 21st Ave. SW.

According to a criminal complaint, Richardson fired a "series of shots" into a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot of the shop, 70 Kirkwood Court SW, which was captured on surveillance video.

Richardson is accused of killing Royal Abram and Matrell Johnson, both 18, of Cedar Rapids.

He also is accused of shooting and seriously injuring Booker McKinney and Kayla Panos-Blackcloud, both 19.

Bonifazi encouraged anyone with information regarding violent offenders to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals Service office, along with using the app.

The task force highlights two fugitives being sought by the U.S. Marshals Service:

Michael Duane Strain, 62, who is 5-foot-6 and weighs 180 pounds, has been on the wanted list since 2011 for charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He last was seen in the northeast Iowa area -- Howard and Chickasaw counties, according to the task force.

Gene Anthony Nelson, 24, who is 6-foot-6 and weighs 140 pounds, is wanted on Linn County warrants on charges of failure to appear on third-degree sexual abuse and assault causing bodily injury. He was last seen in Cedar Rapids.

For more information, contact the U.S. Marshals communications center at 1-800-336-0102 or USMS Tips.


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