On June 7, 2022, the Casper Police Department announced on its Facebook page a $5,000 award — courtesy of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — for anyone who “provides information leading to an arrest of the suspect” involved in a fire at a Casper clinic planning to offer abortions.
In March 2023, with little movement in the case, an anonymous “concerned member of our community” put up another $10,000 for information, according to Casper PD’s Facebook post. The department also added more photos of the arsonist in that post, revealing her unique hairline.
Eventually, a series of tips helped lead to the arrest and conviction of Lorna Green.
“Four of twelve leads received as of this affidavit identified Lorna Green as the suspect,” ATF agent Matthew Wright wrote in a sworn statement around the time of Green’s arrest. “Many tips referenced Green by name and stated they believed her face, hairline and clothing were similar to the suspect’s.”
Green is now serving a five-year sentence in a minimum security federal prison in West Virginia. The clinic she lit on fire — Wellspring Health Access — is now the sole facility offering abortions in Wyoming, though the arson delayed its opening by nearly a year.
Award money from those tips went out late last year, with the ATF processing and sending $5,000 to four tipsters last fall. Casper police officials said they later dispersed the anonymous donor’s $10,000 in cash to three people. It’s unclear if there was overlap between the two groups of tipsters.
WyoFile dug into why it can take so long for someone to receive a reward after an initial arrest.
Arrest and conviction
ATF generally distributes tip awards to people whose information led to an arrest, spokesperson Crystal McCoy said in an email. However, she later added that the agency doesn’t pay “until doing so does not negatively interfere with the prosecution phases.”
In this case, that meant waiting until the deadline passed for Green to appeal her conviction. That was two weeks after her Sept. 28 sentencing.
As for the other $10,000, there was a stipulation that qualifying tips lead to a conviction instead of an arrest, according to Casper PD.
Because of the time it takes for cases to conclude, it can take years for people to see money from their tips. Still, with that expectation, Casper Police Lt. Jeff Bullard said he still hopes people understand how important tips can be.
“Some cases do take years to prosecute,” he said, noting an upcoming murder trial that’s been delayed for years. “But again, we do appreciate when people do reach out.”
ATF bases its tip awards on “the value of the information provided and the timing of which the tip was received,” McCoy wrote in an email.
“In this case, four tipsters provided what was deemed as valuable information by ATF investigators which directly led to a successful apprehension, prosecution and sentencing,” she added.
Later, a group of law enforcement officials met and discussed the other $10,000 award, which the Crimestoppers Foundation was holding, Bullard said.
“So members of my department, myself, the investigation sergeant at the time, the detectives that were involved in the case, the ATF agents and supervisors involved on their side, FBI agents and the supervisor of their division, and then the [district attorney’s] office, were all involved in that decision-making process,” he said.
Ultimately, that cohort offered to split that money between four people, but one declined.
“They felt it was their [civic] duty to make that tip, and they didn’t need the reward,” Bullard said.
In other cases, there are a lot of people who’ve opted not to receive awards when they’ve submitted tips via Crimestoppers, he said. The department works closely with that organization, even though the Casper PD had its own tip line and email in this case, he added.
Bullard was not specific with the timing of cash payments to ensure tipsters’ privacy and anonymity. Still, he said that happened in late 2023.