Wisconsin experts: Big-dollar rewards don’t always help

Experts in Wisconsin say it doesn’t always pay to offer high-dollar rewards for leads in cold cases.

A Post-Crescent Media report says rewards of $10,000 or more can create false leads without increasing the chances of solving the case.

David Byrnes of Green Bay Area Crime Stoppers says that’s why his group caps rewards at $1,000. He says beyond that, people start to say they have information just for the money.

University of Wisconsin law professor Mike Scott agrees. He says small to moderate rewards tend to be effective. He says someone who wasn’t willing to come forward for $500 may not be any more willing even if the reward is $10,000.

That doesn’t stop families from offering big money. Some say they do it because they hope every effort helps.