Illinois Pastor Unpaid for FBI, Police Tips Made 2 Years Ago

A southern Illinois pastor says he still hasn't received reward money for a tip he gave two years ago to the FBI and police about a man accused of shooting an officer.

Sulphur Springs Baptist Church Pastor John Kunath told authorities in 2016 that he believed Dracy Pendleton shot a Mahomet police officer. Kunath also alleged that Pendleton had broken into the church.

Kunath said he doesn't understand why he hasn't received the FBI's $10,000 reward or the Champaign County Crime Stoppers' $1,000 reward. The 74-year-old said he'd like to use the money to repair his church.

A tip "must lead to an arrest or recovery of evidence that solves a crime," Champaign police Sgt. Geoff Coon told The News-Gazette . Pendleton was never arrested in the case. He died in a shootout near the church cemetery in May 2016, shortly after Kunath's tip, according to Illinois records.

Kunath said he received a letter after his second time applying for the FBI award that indicated he didn't qualify for the award.

"They don't really give a good reason," said Kunath.

Kunath took the case to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus' office to no avail.

"We took the case to the FBI on his behalf, but the bureau did not agree. We were surprised and appealed for a reconsideration, but the answer did not change," said Shimkus spokesman Doug Bugger. "As for why, that is something you would have to ask the FBI. We don't know."

The local spokesman for the FBI, Brad Ware, referred the newspaper to the national headquarters.

"Those requests are adjudicated at FBI headquarters," Ware said.

Pope County Sheriff Jerry Suits said he'd like to see Kunath and his family receive the reward.

"Probably without that information, I'm not going to say they wouldn't have got him, but that information we got from Mr. Kunath was huge," Suits said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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