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Citizens Key to Solving Crime in Durham

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DURHAM — One of the Triangle's most wanted is behind bars thanks to a tip from the public.

The arrest of Abdul Kareem Rasheed, the man police call the "Freezer Bandit," is attributed to one of the most successful Crimestoppers programs in the state.

You hear a lot about crime in Durham, but you don't hear a lot about how helpful people in Durham are in solving crimes. This latest high-profile case is a prime example.

Rasheed has received a lot of attention lately as a suspect in a series of restaurant robberies along 15-501 in Durham and at least two locations in Raleigh.

In nearly every case, the alleged robber locked employees in the freezer.

"I'm thinking 'Is he gonna kill us and leave us in the freezer or what?' You can't think when somebody's pointing a gun in your face," says Isaac Navarro, a restaurant manager and crime victim.

Police tell WRAL-TV it was a tip from the public that put the freezer bandit on ice.

"No one investigator is an island. I guess you could say we truly know, and we have known for years, that the citizens are the eyes and ears of the community. We rely on them greatly," says Sgt. John Schneider of the Durham Police Department. "Crimestoppers does a wonderful job of providing information to the investigator."

And the records show Durham Crimestoppers does it well. In 1997, tips from the public solved 121 cases. That was more than in Raleigh or Charlotte.

Durham police say it is cases where the public is in danger that they need the most help from citizens.

"If you're out here and you think you can do this to our community, just as Mr. Abdul found out in court, we're gonna put you under a million dollars bond and you're not going anywhere and you won't be committing any more crime," says Cpl. Fran Borden of the Durham Police Department.

The Crimestoppers unit went to court Monday, and along with the prosecutor, urged a hefty bond for Rasheed. Bond was set at $1.5 million.

The publicity created by Crimestoppers pushed Rasheed's attorney to say in court that the police have already tried the case in public.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Jim Young, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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