Crime Stoppers Official Ate Paper To Protect Tipster

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CBS News - A man who has dedicated his life to putting bad guys in jail, may soon have to join them there.

CBS Miami reports that Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers Executive Director Richard "Dick" Masten will find out Thursday how long he will be locked up after a courtroom stunt where he ate a piece of paper containing information regarding an anonymous tip.

"I probably shouldn't have eaten that piece of paper," Masten told the station.

Still, he says he doesn't really regret his courtroom snack.

"I mean I don't like the idea of going to jail, but I didn't really have any alternative," Masten said. "The way I look at it, we make a solemn promise to our tipsters that we'll never let them be identified."

Last week, Judge Victoria Brennan held Masten, a retired police chief, in contempt for his refusal to hand over details of an anonymous tip in the cocaine possession case against a woman named Lissette Alvarez.

Masten said, more and more often, defense attorneys want to learn tipsters' identities.

"They would like to see them made into a witness and have to answer for that. But once that ever happens, we're going to lose our program. No one will trust us anymore," Masten stold CBS Miami.

Masten says he doesn't mind the attention his "paper case" is getting because it helps shine a spotlight on Crime Stoppers across the country.

Masten's sentencing is set for Thursday. He will have to pay a fine and could spend anywhere from two weeks to a maximum of two years in jail.

"We see everyday the individuals that commit these violent crime the question is 'Why weren't they in jail.' Well maybe the answer will be there wasn't any room because Chief Masten was in jail," he said.


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