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DENVER - The skies over the Front Range opened up Saturday morning just in time for the annual 9NEWS Shred-a-thon, setting the stage for a flood of both paper and cash donations. The benefit event for Metro Denver Crime Stoppers collected a 9NEWS record $82,000 in cash while shredding (so far) 459,368 pounds of paper, unofficially a world record-shattering total for a one-day event of this kind. All the money collected at each of the five Shred-a-thon sites funds reward programs for Crime Stoppers.

• $19,491 - Westminster Police Department
• $18,881 - Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
• $18,338 - Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office
• $12,131 - Aurora Police Department
• $13,648 - 9NEWS

The $82,491 grand total shatters the previous record of $56,000 from the 2011 Shred-a-thon, representing a 43% increase year to year. The 230 tons of paper collected and destroyed by Shred-It, Inc. nearly doubles the official Guinness world record (253,318 pounds) set last year by a bank in Rockford, IL, besting that mark by more than 206,000 pounds. 9NEWS and Shred-It are filing the required paperwork to have this year's 9NEWS Shred-a-thon certified as the new world record holder by Guinness.9NEWS President and General Mark Cornetta said, "The incredible success of this year's Shred-a-thon was a win-win for our community. We removed the potential for identity theft by properly destroying sensitive documents while raising funds to help solve crimes. Working together with local law enforcement has been both an honor and a privilege and we are very pleased that 9NEWS has been able to help make a difference."

Nine million Americans become the victims of identity theft each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Destroying any paperwork containing your personal information is the surest way to protect your financial security.

"Thieves have been known to take personal information left on old documents to steal your identity and in turn, steal from you," Denver Police Detective Dave Belue said. "By shredding that information you make it harder for thieves to get at your identity."

Documents that you should shred include credit card offers, old tax returns, bank statements and out-of-date legal documents like divorce records. You should also shred outdated medical records, account information, cancelled checks and legal documents.

Shred-it, Inc. shredded up to three legal-sized file boxes or kitchen sized trash bags full of sensitive documents in exchange for a voluntary donation to Metro-Denver Crime Stoppers. The company recycles 100 percent of the documents after shredding the paper into thumbnail sized pieces. Those pieces are then bundled and shipped to a facility where they are turned into paper products like plates and towels. All Shred-it employees are licensed and bonded, and supervised by law enforcement officers.

This article was originally published on May 21, 2012.

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