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“It could have been anyone, Reams said. And the numerous tips from people pointing to men who looked very similar to the man in the surveillance footage was proof.” – High Point Enterprise, December 27, 2014
In 2014, High Point, NC Detective Travis Reams was handed one of the most challenging cases of his career when he was asked to identify a criminal who had robbed a number of banks in the area. Interviews with witnesses led to several dead ends, and the largely generic descriptions of the perpetrator made identifying him difficult.
As the weeks went on, robberies continued, but Detective Reams was no closer to finding the individual who was responsible. To help with the investigation, Detective Reams brought in Crimestoppers Coordinator Amy Southards, whose job was to research these cases and compare them to other incidents on file. She turned to SunGard Public Sector’s Police-to-Police (P2P) database to help with the job.
“Cases like this tend to get worse over time,” Southards said. “So we tapped into P2P to try to find him before he caused harm to others.”
At first, Southards had very little to work with – she only knew that the perpetrator was a white male, was age roughly 30-45, and normally had a bandage covering the left side of his neck. But Southards had a reputation for finding criminals with little-to-no evidence. The P2P database links the records of all SunGard Public Sector’s clients into a single, searchable entity that customers can use to identify suspects across jurisdictions. It leverages information from SunGard’s Records Management System to easily link distinct features about individuals, cases and trends.
Southards mentioned that “the first thing you assume with someone like this is that this is not the first crime they have committed, and that they probably have a record.”
After searching through the database with the suspect’s (very limited) information, Southards was able to identify an individual who had all the right physical characteristics, lived near the area where the crimes were taking place, and had a history of offenses in the past. Comparing pictures of this individual in the P2P database with surveillance footage of the robbed banks, Southards felt confident that this was the perp.
“I am not a sworn officer of the law, and I can only go to the detective with a suspect’s name when I am fairly confident that I have the right person,” Southards said.
On this information, Detective Reams obtained a warrant for the individual’s arrest, and the bank robber, Brian Dennis Kuhles of Liverpool, NY, was finally brought to justice.
Southards said that the key to this case was that other agencies in the High Point area had made good use of their SunGard P2P database. Thanks to other officers who had filled in extensive details in pervious case files related to Kuhles, Southards had a lot of information to leverage.
“The main takeaway is that agencies benefit when they make good use of the systems they have available to them, like P2P,” Southards said.
Thanks to good detective work and the P2P database’s capabilities, this serial bank robber is now behind bars. To learn more about SunGard Public Sector’s offering for public safety and justice agencies, please click here.
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