Over a period of two months three years ago one man committed at least 15 serious robberies at businesses throughout the city. The Memphis Police Department described the two-month-long crime spree in June and July, 2017 as a particularly “vicious and violent” rampage.
The suspect held various employees with a knife at their throats, demanding money, and often dragged the victims out of the businesses at knife-point so that he could make his getaway in a car.
As the crimes continued, a man named Eric Balkin was identified as the suspect. Soon Balkin was named to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s “Top Ten Most Wanted” list.
But Balkin went on the run to avoid arrest and leads were few.
Then came July 8 of this year.
A caller to CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County had a tip:
Eric Balkin could be found in Indiana, the tipster said. In fact, he could be found in a residence at the corner of Illinois Road and Timberlake Trail, in Ft. Wayne.
The CrimeStoppers tip quickly made the rounds. The information flowed from the city’s Real Time Crime Center, to the MPD armed robbery bureau. Detectives then alerted the U.S. Marshal.
Within a short time Balkin, on the lam for exactly three years, was taken into custody. Said one U.S. Marshal: “Suspect Balkin may never have been caught” if it weren’t for the tip to CrimeStoppers.
Balkin had a long history of convictions on his rap sheet, including aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, especially aggravated kidnapping, evading arrest and being a felon in possession of a hand gun.
New charges brought in 2020: four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 17 counts of aggravated robbery, 11 counts of aggravated assault, and intentionally evading arrest in the use of an automobile. Bond was set at $3 million and 13 felony cases were closed.
Paid to the CrimeStoppers tipster: $700.