By Hunter Diehl Challis
Patrol Cpl. Crissi Gilchrist with the Custer County Sheriff’s Department has had her hands on Leads Online for about four months, and she said the more familiar she gets with the tracking software the more she realizes what a valuable tool it is.
“Anything that’s been stolen, that we know has a serial number, can be entered into this system,” Gilchrist said.
“It already paid for itself in the first week we had it by getting all the stuff that was stolen from Allied,” Sheriff Stu Lumpkin said, referring to a Jan. 3 burglary at Allied Builders Supply in Challis.
Gilchrist said she got the serial numbers of what was stolen from the store, put them in Leads Online and almost immediately discovered they had been pawned in Cheyenne, Wyoming, by Zachary James. She contacted the Cheyenne Police Department and officers retrieved the stolen property and are holding it as evidence.
“We were able to hit the ticket the pawn shop entered and that’s how we knew he had taken those items,” Gilchrist said.
Since Leads Online was able to identify which pawn shop James used, Gilchrist said she was able to get in contact with the shop staff. They were able to supply video of James pawning the items, his current address, his phone number and driver’s license number.
“That’s the benefit of it,” Gilchrist said, referring to how quickly she was able to gather the information on James with Leads Online.
Sheriff Lumpkin said the price for using Leads Online was a little more $1,000 for a partial year subscription. However, he said it is so useful that he plans to make it a permanent addition to his crime-fighting arsenal.
Along with Leads Online, Lumpkin has also had Gilchrist explore other online ways of tracking stolen property. She has spent several weeks familiarizing herself with Carfax, a website that can find cars based on partial license plate numbers.
As time goes on, Lumpkin said he might have other deputies learn to use the new software. For right now, though, he said Gilchrist will take the lead with Leads Online and Carfax.