Carlos Ordonez did a good thing Sunday night after he saw an escaped prisoner and mental health patient on the streets of Miami begging for money.
"As soon as I gave him 30 cents I realized this looks like the guy I saw on channel 6 news," Ordonez said.
Ordonez didn't know the Crime Stoppers phone number, so he called 911. That prisoner, Leandro Guymaraes, 30, who escaped from the South Florida State Mental Hospital in Pembroke Pines, was arrested and taken back to jail, authorities said.
The next day, Ordonez thought he might be eligible for a reward, but he wasn't. Why? Because he called 911, not Crime Stoppers.
"I called 911 because they're the ones that are going to get there first, not Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers isn't a police department. A police department is a police department," he said. "Why do I have to call a third party when there's an escaped prisoner? Crime Stoppers has to call them first?"
Richard Masten is the executive director of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers. He said 911 is for emergencies, not tips. Masten said it'd be impossible to reward everyone who calls 911, adding that a call to 911 will identify you. Crime Stoppers is completely anonymous.
On the Broward Crime Stoppers website, it says Crime Stoppers is to report suspicious or covert activity or to provide a tip or information about an unsolved case or fugitive criminal.
Even though he isn't being rewarded in cash, Ordonez still doesn't regret calling 911 instead of the tip line.
"I did the right thing. They captured the guy," he said. "I'm glad they caught the guy."
The phone number for Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers is 305-471-TIPS.
The phone number for Broward Crime Stoppers is 954-493-TIPS.
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