Bob Arnold and I had a source who ran a body shop and owned a tow truck. Carl Spero had stolen a D-9 Caterpillar from a construction site. He had a spot to sell it down in the south central part of the state. He was taking it down on a low boy and the truck broke down. They called back to Kansas City and asked my guy to come down and tow the truck off and somebody else got the Cat pulled away and given to the buyer. We went down and my guy pointed out the exact spot. The County sheriff started asking questions and soon learned of a farmer with a new Caterpillar. A visit from the sheriff and the cat was soon returned to the owner.
No charges were ever filed because we did not want to expose the source. We had to be careful with sources as they may try to do illegal activities knowing they were protected. We could not allow that, but if they reported doing something shortly after the act and nobody was harmed, then we may give them a pass. Plus these activities could not be started by the source, the source had to be an underling. This is how it works.
I had learned about this source from some public records checking. He held a business license to a car lot where some mob guys had been known to frequent. I searched him down at his new business. I walked in, identified myself and asked him what he knew about organized crime in Kansas City. This stolen property was on his mind and he agreed to help. He ended up becoming a valuable source for several years. I could send him into a situation and he would go in make some friends and let me know who was who. He was not really a criminal and never got involved in any more criminal activity. He knew a lot of people in the mob and was happy to keep me informed as to their legitimate businesses.