Ron Kanutski has put up a $500 reward of Facebook payable for the arrest and conviction of two suspects in an alleged Dec. 27 sexual assault against a First Nations woman in the County Boulevard area.
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THUNDER BAY -- Ron Kanutski isn’t looking for vigilante-style justice.
But he does hope a growing reward he’s helped organize on Facebook will be the incentive needed to convince someone to turn in the men alleged to have kidnapped a sexually assaulted a 36-year-old First Nations woman on Dec. 27 in the County Boulevard area.
Kanutski is offering up $500 for the successful arrest and conviction of the two Caucasian assailants, who the victim alleges were racially motivated in their actions based on comments they made during the alleged assault.
“I found myself getting very frustrated with what’s been going on in our city in relation to violence and crime, especially crimes toward women,” said Kanutski, who has been in contact with Crime Stoppers about the reward and wants them to take over that aspect of the case, which is presently being investigated by Thunder Bay Police.
“I’ve always felt like I’m just one person, there’s nothing I can do. And just out of frustration I thought I’m going to put up some reward money and see if we can get this case solved. Sometimes some people are financially motivated, unfortunately. If I make the pot big enough, I figure people will be called to action, some people may recall something.”
Kanutski, a comedian whose house was broken into overnight when a heavy-set man kicked his door in, a crime he stopped in progress, said the reward is not about the money. It’s about getting the community motivated, to see what’s going on.
“Sometimes when people hear that there is a reward, all of a sudden they take it seriously and they start looking and say, ‘I do know something about this,’ or ‘I have witnessed this,’” he said.
On Facebook Kanutski is asking his friends to share his actions with everyone they know and directs anyone with solid information to contact Thunder Bay Police.
In less than 24 hours he’s already got more than 1,100 likes on Facebook, and comments from a few friends, including Tracey Crosson, who implored Kanutski to keep the faith.
“So just hang tight they will catch them in due time,” she writes. “DNA is the bomb. They will be caught, this is a major crime and it will not be the last of their crime spree.”
He reiterated all information should be directed to police.
“We need to have faith in our law enforcement and we need them to be in charge of this investigation. This isn’t something I’m taking over or want to be in charge of. I just want the information to get to the right people so we can get justice served,” Kanutski said.
Thunder Bay Police Service spokesman Chris Adams encouraged Kanutski to speak more in depth with Crime Stoppers.
"We can't stop anyone from offering a reward or soliciting for information. We would recommend that Crime Stoppers is a logical organization to approach since it has the ability to deal with anonymous tips and provide rewards. We would accept any information to assist our investigators from any source, but Mr. Kanutski would have a challenge in determining how to pay out a reward and to who the reward goes to," Adams said in an email response.
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