Province offers $50,000 for crime tips

The province is launching its own cash reward program to close the case on some major unsolved crimes.

The Nova Scotia government is offering up to $50,000 for information that helps close the book on some major unsolved crimes in the province.

The new cash reward program announced Wednesday covers homicides and cases involving unidentified human remains and missing persons that are deemed suspicious.

Anyone with a tip can call a toll-free line. But unlike Crime Stoppers, which offers anonymous tipsters up to $2,000, callers have to give their names and numbers and could be called to testify in court.

That could deter some people from coming forward, said RCMP Sgt. Wayne Noonan with the Crime Stoppers program.

"A lot of people just don't want to get involved," said Noonan, an adviser on the new cash reward program.

"People just know this is wrong but they are afraid and even the criminals fear they could become a victim themselves."

The Department of Justice is launching a website that will list the unsolved crimes eligible for reward money. A case will remain on the list for as long as police request it.

The seven-year-old murder of Jason MacCullough is on the list, his father, Allan MacCullough, says.

Jason, a 19-year-old Boys and Girls Club volunteer, was shot in the back of the head while walking home in Dartmouth on Aug. 28, 1999.

A couple of cash rewards were offered for anyone who could help catch his killer, but no one has been charged.

The new $50,000 reward is only paid if the information leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for a crime on the list.

Halifax police Chief Frank Beazley said even if only one or two cases are solved through the reward program, it will be worth it.

Beazley said Halifax has 30 unsolved homicides on record, with the oldest dating to the 1950s.