FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville Chief of Police Gina Hawkins passed out $10 plates as people drove through that benefitted funding rewards for anonymous information provided to law enforcement.

“It has been instrumental in solving thousands of cases,” Jeremy Strickland said, the coordinator for Fayetteville Cumberland County Crimestoppers.

A recent Crimestoppers tip led to the arrest of a man caught on camera exposing himself to a jogger near Sherwood Park Elementary.

“We arrested over 4,500 felons just from Crimestoppers alone,” Strickland said. “Since its exemption, a little over $8 million in property, narcotics, cash recovered (has been) seized.”

Cumberland County said that type of communication with the public is key.

While Crimestoppers is receiving more tips than ever, the organization said funding for rewards is lower than usual. And, the COVID-19 pandemic caused its biggest fundraiser to be put on hold — until now.

“It takes good police work, but it takes witnesses to come forward and give us the information we need to bring justice,” Lt. Patrice Bogertey, the Public Information Officer for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said. “This fundraiser helps us a great deal because it’s able to pay people for information that is valuable to us.”

The group has received other funding, though, including a $10,000 donation from the City of Fayetteville.

“Our donations have definitely fallen off for the program…and this is the first time we had the barbecue since 2019,” Strickland said.