Crime Stopper tip aids arrest of suspect
BY Tulsa Tribune
Mar 27, 1979
Walter Dix, the hamburger stand operator who offered free meals to the informant who would help police solve a brutal armed robbery at his business in February, says he never thought he would have to keep that promise.
But now he might.
A 21-year-old Missouri man has been charged in the robbery at Dix's Hank's Hamburgers and robberies at two other Tulsa businesses as a result of a tip called to Crime Stoppers, a
crime-fighting program started last month.
Charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, robbery with a firearm and assault and battery with a deadly weapon is Randy Ray Collinsworth, Joplin.
He is in Tulsa County jail pending an April 9 preliminary hearing.
Collinsworth's arrest was the first for one of the Crime Stoppers' weekly re-enacted crimes, and a $1,000 reward will be paid to the informant after Collinsworth’s preliminary hearing, according to program coordinator Officer Ed Jackson.
Since the program, sponsored by the Tulsa Police Department and the Citizens Crime Commission, began dozens of calls have been received from citizens, about 15 arrests have been made and an estimated $12,000 in property and stolen drugs have been recovered.
However, the Feb. 10 robbery at Dix's restaurant is the first crime of the week to be solved, which Jackson says should give the program a "shot in the arm.
"This is the first $1,000 hit and I suspect this will boost the program tremendously," said Jackson.
Dix identified Collinsworth from a police photo after the Missouri man's identity was given to police by an informant who called Crime Stoppers.
Shortly after the robbery, Dix had been shown police mug shot books, but was unable to identify the robber from the photos.
Detectives said they returned after being given the Missouri man's identity and Dix looked through the books once and immediately picked out his photo.
Police also took the photo to clerks in two other stores where there had been robberies by a similar suspect.
Police said Collinsworth has been identified in armed robberies at Boot Town, 6912 E. Admiral Place, Feb. 22, and at Pay-Less Shoes, 7301 E. Admiral Blvd., Jan. 31.
The robbery at Dix's restaurant, 802 S. Lewis Ave., has been described as especially brutal because the robber repeatedly beat a customer over the head with a large pipe wrench for no apparent reason.
The 60-year-old cafe operator, who has been robbed several times before, said he watched the robber closely and was sure that he would be able to identify him later.
The injured customer, Arthur C. Roberts, a Tulsa County employee, only recently returned to work.
Police said Collinsworth apparently was working as a laborer in the Tulsa vicinity, living with a relative, at the time the robberies were committed.
Collinsworth, recently released from the Missouri state penitentiary, was arrested after Joplin police staked out a residence where he was staying.
Jackson called the arrest "an excellent example of the workability of Crime Stoppers."
However, he said Dix probably will not have to make good his own offer to let the informant eat free in his business because the informant has requested total anonymity.