I received an e-mail with an offer of a $500,000 reward for the arrest and successful prosecution of a man who shot a Malvern police officer in woods last week. The officer has not been identified. He was shot in the arm and a police spokesman said he was in good condition today.

$500,000????

That’s a powerful incentive.

This story caught my eye for other reasons when I saw it on TV. As the story went, the cop had come across a bow hunter at night and a struggle ensued in which the man took the cop’s gun and shot him. The cop then buried — and broke off — a four-inch knife in the man, who took off, dripping blood. An intensive search, including the use of tracking dogs, failed to turn up the suspect, who presumably wasn’t moving too swiftly. Maybe, I thought, this episode could help you see why finding John Glasgow up on Petit Jean was a harder task than it might have appeared.

But back to the reward. A Malvern police spokesman, Lt. Bernie Moseley, said he’d been told by an employee of the Dallas company offering the reward that an officer in the firm had a vacation home in Arkansas and wanted to help. (Ken Carlson, chief financial officer of Westdale Asset Management of Dallas, later told me the same thing.) Moseley, like everyone else I talked with, wasn’t familiar with the company and naturally wondered if the offer was legit, though he had no specific reason to doubt it, apart from the unusual size.  “He’d better have a way to back it up when it comes down to brass tacks,” Moseley said.

“It is for real,” Carlson told me. He declined to identify the company official who has property in Arkansas. The company manages real estate nationally, particularly apartment complexes. “He just wanted to put up a half-million to keep interest in the case up.”

It should. At this level of reward, the suspect might turn himself in.

Malvern National Bank, identified as holding the reward money in escrow, said through a spokesman that its lack of familiarity with the company prompted it to decide not to handle the escrow account. Carlson, who had talked with the Malvern bank officer, said the money was currently in a Dallas bank but that they had thought it would be better placed in an Arkansas bank. The Malvern banker provided a list of alternative depositories to Carlson, but, at 4:30 p.m., Carlson said it was likely too late in the day to make a switch.

Police in Malvern are overwhelmed by the offer. The Fraternal Order of Police was tickled it had rounded up a $1,000 reward fund. Make that $501,000.

That’s the story so far, anyway. I don’t think we’ve heard it all. By the way, Carlson said a rumor floating around Malvern, that the contributor of the award and the shot policemen were related, was not true.