Tags Articles tagged with "MPD"

MPD

InMaricopa File Photo

Maricopa Police Department has seen a dramatic drop in property crimes compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Crimes of burglary, theft and vehicle theft fell by about 50 percent. Though MPD is too cautious to call it a trend (second-quarter numbers may still show something different), the department does credit public engagement.


“We partnered with the Vehicle Theft Task Force and a car-watcher program,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

In the first quarter of 2017 (January, February and March), there were 15 vehicles reported stolen. This year, over the same time period, eight vehicles were stolen.

Theft, including shoplifting, is Maricopa’s top crime. There were 146 such incidents reported in the first-quarter last year. This year, it was down to 73.

Alvarado said MPD implemented programs and reached out to shopkeepers to explain how they could “change little things to cut down on shoplifting.” Businesses seem to have been receptive, he said.

Residents have also responded to MPD’s requests to call in any suspicious activity, Alvarado said, with MPD making that a little easier with its app.

Whether the first-quarter numbers are a trend or a temporary impact, Alvarado said MPD is glad to see the public engaged in preventing and reporting crimes.

Two juveniles in a crosswalk were injured Monday when they were struck by a vehicle making a left turn.

According to Maricopa Police Department, the two juveniles had the right of way while crossing State Route 347 on Bowlin Road at around 6:24 p.m. The vehicle, driven by Izmenia Ledezma, was traveling east on Bowlin and turning north onto SR 347.

The juveniles suffered minor injuries, described as scrapes and bruises, but no broken bones. They were transported to a hospital as a precaution.

Ledezma stopped after the collision.

According to MPD, she was cited for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

 

Terrance Words (PCSO photo)

A woman called authorities last week alleging the father of her child was attempting to break down the back door to her home.

The incident reportedly occurred May 31 at 7:16 p.m. on Bishop Drive in Rancho El Dorado.

Before officers arrived, Terrance Words, 29, allegedly kicked down the door, entered the home, argued with the victim and damaged a television before leaving the residence.

MPD arrested Words less than 10 minutes later when officers pulled over his vehicle on Lakeview Drive near State Route 347.

“(Words) admitted to kicking in the back door of the house so he could get his car keys and leave the residence,” the police report states.

The suspect allegedly told police the woman locked him in the backyard.

The reporting officer also alleged in the report that Words admitted to arguing with the woman after she asked him to leave the home and to kicking a table “which caused a television to fall.”

The traffic stop also resulted in police discovering Words was driving on a suspended driver license, according to the report.

MPD forwarded charges of criminal damage domestic violence, a class 2 misdemeanor; disorderly conduct domestic violence, a class 1 misdemeanor; and driving on suspended drivers license, a class 1 misdemeanor.

Maricopa artist Jennifer Scribner talks to MPD Chief Steve Stahl about her logo design. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

This year, Maricopa Police Department hosted a contest asking local artists to submit ideas of a logo for the planned Family Advocacy Center.

Friday, MPD announced the winner was Jennifer Scribner, whose “Helping Hands” design will be on FAC materials and inside the facility. As stipulated, the logo includes symbolic colors.

The FAC will treat victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Celebrating her 22nd wedding anniversary (she’s married to Maricopa Community Development Director Martin Scribner), the artist said she had been a victim earlier in life and had to rely on the helping hands of others to recover.

Below, Chief Steve Stahl talks about FAC, and Scribner explains her design:

 

A parked vehicle and an electrical box were damaged Saturday after a woman allegedly struck them with her vehicle and fled the scene, according to police.

The incident reportedly took place near a home on Big Dipper Drive in Province around 5 p.m., May 26.

Witnesses told the Maricopa Police Department a vehicle hit and subsequently pushed a Ford pickup truck approximately 10 feet into an electrical utility box owned by Electrical District No. 3.

The suspected at-fault vehicle was described as a silver SUV being driven erratically in the area.

The truck received damage to its rear passenger-side corner, taillight and bumper. The electrical box was “broken off from the concert base it was on,” according to an MPD police report.

About an hour later, MPD officers located a vehicle in the Villages subdivision matching the description given by witnesses. They eventually made contact with the alleged driver, Rebecca Wallace, at a residence on Ryans Trail.

There, officers noted damage on the passenger side of Wallace’s Chevy Equinox that “matched the damage to” the Ford pickup in Province.

Police said Wallace allegedly admitted to being involved in the accident. However, she then reportedly told an officer she no longer wanted to speak to police.

“(Wallace) was also found to be impaired,” the report alleged.

MPD forwarded charges of class 6 felony criminal damage for the estimated $1,000 worth of repairs to the truck and utility box; failing to fulfill duty on striking an unattended vehicle, a class 3 misdemeanor; and striking a fixture on a highway, also a class 3 misdemeanor.

A DUI charge is pending on the results from Wallace’s blood sample, according to the report.

Carlos Soliz (PCSO photo)

Witnesses to a verbal fight between a motorist and his pedestrian girlfriend told police the man drove in opposing lanes of traffic while pursuing her.

The May 16 incident initially occurred on Maricopa–Casa Grande Highway at approximately 11:36 a.m.

Police arrested Carlos Soliz, 38, at the Pershing Road intersection after independent witnesses reported his alleged reckless behavior behind the wheel.

A Maricopa Police Department report alleges Soliz pursued the woman and “left the roadway to block her safe passage on the sidewalk,” causing an unreasonable inconvenience and hazard to traffic.

The woman then attempted to run to the opposite side of the roadway. Soliz allegedly exited his vehicle near the highway and Pershing Road and continued to verbally fight with his girlfriend, according to the report.

“(Soliz’s) behavior became serious and disruptive when he prevented her from walking past him until they had a conversation about issues in their relationship,” the reporting officer wrote.

The officer goes on to allege in the report that Soliz’S behavior would have continued against the victim if police hadn’t intervened.

MPD forwarded charges of disorderly conduct (class 1 misdemeanor), obstructing a highway (class 3 misdemeanor) and reckless driving (class 2 misdemeanor) against Soliz and later transported him to Pinal County Jail.

Betty Davis (PCSO photo)

A caller alerted police to a “possible sex offense” involving two allegedly nude people off the side of a local road.

Officers with the Maricopa Police Department responded to the Heritage District area of Garvey Avenue and Loma Road Wednesday around 6:46 p.m. The report refers to the intersection as a “lightly traveled road.”

Going off notes received from the call, MPD was prepared to assess the report of a man and a woman “out in the open naked” in the area near a white van.

“The caller reported the female appeared to be struggling,” according to the report.

However, once on scene, officers found a man wearing pants and a woman fully clothed.

The couple told police they had been “making out” consensually.

After the interviews, officers concluded no crime occurred.

That was before a wants and warrants check was performed. Officers discovered the woman, 43-year-old Betty Davis, was wanted on a valid warrant for failing to pay out of Mesa Justice Court with a $600 bond.

MPD transported Davis to the Pinal County Adult Detention Center.

Michael Moore. (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man faces felony charges stemming from a shooting Saturday afternoon. As reported earlier, a neighborhood in Desert Cedars was shut down by law enforcement during the investigation.

Michael Moore, 25, is accused of shooting a female in the hand. Maricopa Police Department is still looking for a weapon.

MPD was called to the 44000 block of West Buckhorn Trail at around 1:50 p.m. May 19. Officers found a female with a gunshot wound to her left hand.

She reported told officers she was a passenger in a car being driven by a friend and they were retrieving mail at the address. A single shot was fired into the back window, hitting her hand. She gave officers the description and location of the suspect.

Officers saw a male matching the description getting into a vehicle. They conducted a “high-risk stop,” and Moore was taken into custody without incident.

The female was transported to a hospital. No one else was injured during the event.

Moore was booked in the Pinal County jail on charges of aggravated assault, endangerment and possession of drugs. MPD stated there was “no clear motive,” which is still being investigated.

Moore is scheduled for a hearing in Pinal County Superior Court on May 22.

A Maricopan was reportedly shot in the hand during an incident in Desert Cedars Saturday afternoon.

See UPDATE

According to Maricopa Police Department, a female suffered the wound in a house in the 44000 block of Buckhorn Trail in the Desert Cedars subdivision. MPD and Maricopa Fire/Medical were dispatched at around 1:50 p.m. The street was closed off to traffic.

The victim was transported to a hospital and MPD described the injury as non-life-threatening.

At the beginning of the incident, neighbors reported a white car arrived at the house and the driver left the door open as he ran into the house. MPD reported no other outstanding subject connected to the incident and did not describe how the injury occurred. Police set up a canopy on scene as they continue to investigate the shooting.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Tony Suares. PCSO photo

Medical crews transported a local woman to the hospital Monday evening after she sustained injuries at the hands of her husband, according to the Maricopa Police Department.

Tony Suares, 37, allegedly caused temporary “but substantial disfigurement” to his wife’s face during an argument that turned physical May 15 at 6:02 p.m. in Alterra.

An MPD police report states Suares struck the victim in the face approximately 10 times with his closed fists.

The reporting officer observed multiple contusions on the woman’s forehead, nose, upper lip and both cheeks.

Suares allegedly screamed profanities while abusing the victim, which reportedly caused her to fear for her life. He was arrested on suspicion of class 4 felony aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, a class 1 misdemeanor.

During questioning by officers, the suspect said he blacked out and denied remembering anything before or after the assault. But Suares allegedly told police his wife “said something to set him off, causing him to punch her,” according to the report.

MPD transported him to the Pinal County Jail, where he remained in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Police Department has never lost an officer on duty.

Chief Steve Stahl said he prays that day never comes. But Steve Stroud, a board member of the Maricopa Police Foundation, thinks it’s only a matter of time. In Salt Lake County in Utah, where he’s from, five officers have been lost in 25 years, he said.

The “fallen officers” memorial monument unveiled Monday morning contains no names, yet, but includes a metal U.S. flag on which names can be engraved. The monument stands in the plaza in front of the MPD substation north of Copper Sky Multigenerational Complex.

The dedication came a little later than planned, but Stahl said it was fitting it occurred a day before National Peace Officers Memorial Day, which was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The monument includes a quote from Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Police officers, staff from Maricopa Fire/Medical Department and elected officials attended the ceremony.

The plaza is full of brick pavers that are “sold” by the foundation to be inscribed “to honor the memory of a lost friend, family, or loved one or honor the career of an officer.”

“We officers know what we signed up for,” Stahl said. “Some families may not.”

Photo by Michelle Chance

A report of trouble in a house on Portarosa Drive in Glennwilde brought out both Maricopa Police Department and Maricopa Fire/Medical Department Monday.

The home’s occupant spoke to the police without incident.

“We made phone contact with him and he came out,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said, “but units smelled smoke and called fire to check the house out.”

MFMD spokesman Capt. Brad Pitassi also said his department had been called to the location on a report of someone with difficulty breathing.

Officers initially thought smoke might be coming from a bedroom after the house was cleared and the man was being transported to the station, but nothing was found.

MPD blocked the street to traffic. There were no injuries reported.

A near head-on collision on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway Thursday resulted in a flipped vehicle and a trapped driver but no life-threatening injuries, according to Maricopa Police Department.

The incident happened after 6 p.m. east of the intersection with White and Parker Road.

MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said a westbound vehicle crossed over the center line and hit an eastbound vehicle.

“The westbound vehicle from the impact lost control and flipped over,” Alvarado said. “The driver of the westbound car was trapped.”

That driver was extricated by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department. While that work was going on, MPD shut down traffic between White and Parker Road and Murphy Road. The roadway was reopened around 8 p.m.

“The driver of the westbound vehicle was cited for failure to maintain one lane and transported to Chandler with non-life-threatening injuries,” Alvarado said. “The driver of the eastbound car was not injured.”


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Kenneth Davis. PCSO photo

The Maricopa Police Department assisted in taking a sexual assault suspect into custody last week.

Kenneth Marzette Davis Jr., 27, was arrested May 3 at a home on West Griffis Drive in The Villages after the Avondale Police Department requested help from MPD.

Davis reportedly has a nationwide, extraditable warrant issued out of Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio, according to an MPD report.

“It was stated they had an open sexual assault case they were investigating and wanted to interview (Davis),” the report states.

Avondale detectives interviewed Davis after his arrest. He was later transported to the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility.

Davis was booked on the outstanding warrant and a sexual assault charge, a class 2 felony.

A Pinal County Superior Court judge will decide Davis’ bond eligibility May 10. The suspect’s extradition status will be heard in court the next day.

Multiple witnesses at a local tavern reported observing a man “placing his hands on or around the throat” of a juvenile over the weekend.

The Maricopa Police Department arrested William Bentley May 5 on suspicion of two aggravated assault charges related to strangulation against a minor, child abuse and endangerment.

The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 7:27 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway.

According to witnesses, the child had been with his mother and two other juveniles at the establishment since 11 a.m.

Hours later, Bentley gave a statement to police after being read his Miranda rights.

“He said when he got to the bar where his girlfriend and the three juveniles (were), including the victim, they had dinner and the victim was ‘acting up,’ so they decided to leave,” according to the police report.

Witnesses told police the mother and Bentley yelled and screamed at the victim inside the bar.

Bentley said the child became disruptive. He allegedly admitted to grabbing the child, taking him behind a pillar and holding the victim’s wrists against that pillar.

Statements from the day-shift waitress and other tavern witnesses to the incident expand beyond Bentley’s account.

“(The witness) said Bentley had his hands around the juvenile’s throat and the juvenile was lifted off the ground,” the report states.

One witness said she ran to the pillar and yelled at Bentley to put the child down.

Crews transported the boy for a medical evaluation. The victim allegedly told medical staff Bentley “placed his hands around his throat and lifted him up,” according to the report.

The victim also informed medics of throat pain and sore arms.

Submitted photo

After more than two years of fund-raising, a memorial monument is about to be unveiled at the Maricopa Police Substation at Copper Sky.

The fallen officer memorial dedication is May 14 at 7 a.m. at 17985 N. Greythorn Drive. MPD and the Maricopa Police Foundation are inviting the community to attend.

The Foundation started selling memorial bricks in 2016 for $100-$350 to help fund the monument. The memorial area can hold up to 6,000 paver bricks.

The memorial bricks were introduced “to honor the memory of a lost friend, family or loved one or honor the career of an officer.”

Marcos Martinez is accused of the brutal murder of Vicky Ten Hoven. (photos PCSO/Facebook)

The man accused of killing his grandmother earlier this year will undergo a mental examination to determine his competency to stand trial.

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Dwight Callahan ordered Marcos Jerell Martinez to a “full Rule 11 examination” in court Wednesday morning.

Martinez, with a full beard and long hair, appeared in a brown jumpsuit for his hearing May 2, but his cooperation with counsel has apparently been an issue.

Callahan recently approved a motion by the defense team to visit with their client at the door of his jail cell after concerns were filed that Martinez repeatedly “denies or refuses” to meet with attorneys, according to court documents filed in April.

The first-degree murder suspect submitted to a rule 11 pre-screening in March where a doctor recommended a full examination.

The state and the public defender’s office both nominated psychologists to fulfill the order.

Those results are expected to be reviewed in court June 27 at 9 a.m.

After the mental examination review hearing this summer, attorneys for Martinez are expected to file a motion to remand the case to a second grand jury for a new probable cause determination.

A grand jury indicted Martinez in February of premediated first-degree murder, punishable by death or life in prison, after the Maricopa Police Department forwarded additional charges of tampering with evidence and unlawful use of means of transportation in the same case. Martinez is held in the Pinal County Detention Center on a $1 million secured bond.

Martinez stands accused in the Jan. 28 blunt-force trauma death of Vicky Ten Hoven in Rancho El Dorado.


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Humberto Martinez-Herrera. PCSO photo

A domestic dispute in the Villages resulted in an arrest after police reportedly discovered a semi-automatic rifle and other firearms in the home of a prohibited possessor.

Officers with the Maricopa Police Department arrested Humberto Martinez-Herrera, 39, April 23 at approximately 11 p.m. after his wife placed an emergency call alleging her husband was intoxicated in their garage and was refusing to turn down the volume of his music.

Martinez-Herrera is reportedly a felon who is not permitted to own firearms, according to an MPD report.

Upon arrival on West Oster Drive, law enforcement interviewed Martinez-Herrera in the garage where he gave police permission to search for the guns. The report alleges MPD found one AR-15 rifle, one scoped rifle, one shotgun and a loaded pistol “within (Martinez-Herrera)’s reach in the garage.”

Police also discovered several rounds of ammunition in plain view, according to the report. Martinez-Herrera originally told police the guns belonged to his brother.

The report states he admitted to never restoring his right to possess firearms.

Martinez-Herrera eventually told police he purchased the AR-15 at a local gun show and recently fired it at a local gun range, according to the report.

The suspect’s wife also provided a digital image to officers that purportedly showed Martinez-Herrera shooting the rifle at the range.

Police forwarded one class 4 felony charge of weapons misconduct against Martinez-Herrera for “possessing a deadly weapon or prohibited weapon if such person is a prohibited possessor.”


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Photo by Mason Callejas

A man initially accused of firing a weapon toward The Duke at Rancho El Dorado was cited and released Wednesday.

Identified as Arbray Beshear, he was taken into custody at his home in Desert Park Court when a neighbor complained he was shooting a gun from the back side of his house. Maricopa Police determined the weapon was a pellet rifle, according to MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.

Beshear, described in his 70s, was cited with as-yet-unidentified misdemeanor charges and not booked after officers discussed the case with the Pinal County Attorney’s office, Alvarado said.

A neighbor called police Wednesday morning with a report of shots fired near the golf course and also alleged Beshear had made threats when told to stop shooting. MPD responded by blocking streets in the area of the incident until they made contact with Beshear and took him into custody.

Undray Crew (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man is facing multiple charges of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure after he reportedly stripped his clothes and ran through a neighbor’s backyard in Senita last week.

The incident began April 18 when officers responded to a domestic dispute on North Tonya Street at 9:40 a.m.

Family members told police Undray Crew, 40, had been violent toward his brother and mother. Crew was also accused of attempting to throw a metal bench into the family home’s sliding glass door and shattering a side window with his fist.

A Maricopa Police Department report stated Crew disrobed and left the residence when he got word law enforcement was on its way.

Crew then allegedly jumped a neighbor’s fence and ran through the backyard.

MPD received “multiple” calls about a man running nude, including one neighbor who reported to be “alarmed by the sight of (Crew’s) nakedness.”

Police forwarded 10 charges against Crew, including two counts of domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal damage, six counts of disorderly conduct and one count of indecent exposure.

Photo by Mason Callejas

A garage fire threatened a home at 46058 W. Morning View Lane.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez, two people were in the house and made it out safely. There is still a search for four animals.

The fire call came in at 10:09 a.m. It was initially reported as a vehicle fire. A dozen fire and medical units responded to the scene. Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said 11 MPD units responded.

MFMD Assistant Chief John Storm said the American Red Cross and a local church are provided aid to the residents.

 

Joshua Paulsen (left) and County Attorney Kent Volkmer present Tyler Pappas with an award during Crime Victims Rights Week. Photo by Michelle Chance

Tyler Pappas grew up admiring his grandfather’s career in law enforcement and consumed his stories of comradery and bravery.

“It kind of stuck with me,” he said.

Pappas, now 26 years old, recently concluded his first year as an officer with the Maricopa Police Department.

His rookie year on the force has not gone without notice. In fact, it’s being celebrated.

Pappas was one of 11 law enforcement personnel recognized by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office April 10 at the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Law Enforcement Appreciation event.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 8-14.

“He definitely has an extra something special,” said Mary Witkofski, MPD Community Programs Manager.

Witkofski presented an award to Pappas for his compassionate behavior toward crime victims.

Pappas regularly stops by MPD’s victim services unit to fill a bag with stuffed animals and care items for adolescent crime victims, Witkofski told a room filled with county officers, prosecutors and Sheriff Mark Lamb.

The acts of kindness are something Pappas learned from a Chandler Police officer who comforted him as a child when he was exposed to his father’s alleged abusive behavior toward his mother.

Tyler Pappas. Photo by Michelle Chance

“Seeing that growing up gives me an edge and an insight on how to deal with other people that have been in my shoes,” Pappas said after the ceremony.

The officer who helped Pappas as a child left a lasting impression.

“(Pappas) is paying the acts forward from what he received as a child, and that’s so inspirational,” Witkofski said.

The young lawman is already excelling in his career in ways beyond his recent accolade.

Pappas said he recently made MPD’s Special Response Team.

He encourages crime victims who may be weary of law enforcement to give officers a chance.

“Reach out to us and let us show our true heart and our true side,” Pappas said. “Yes, we wear the uniform, but we’re human as well. We all go through stuff in life.”

Mary Witkofski. Photo by Michelle Chance

Police informed a local homeowner last week that two people had been illegally living in a structure attached to their home in the Heritage District.

It’s not known how long Crystal Tow, 37, and Carl Schwarz, 36, allegedly lived in the “storage closet” on North Condrey Avenue, but now they are both facing trespassing charges.

The couple had not been discovered until April 5 when the Maricopa Police Department responded to a report of possible trespassing. That’s when officers purportedly found Tow and Schwarz arguing in the backyard of the residence around 6:45 a.m.

“Carl stated he and Crystal had been living in the attached storage closet in the back of the home, as they had been kicked out of their previous residence,” the police report stated.

Drugs allegedly also were discovered.

A search of Tow’s purse and backpack revealed syringes and glass pipes, two of which tested positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine, according to the report.

Police allege Tow admitted to using methamphetamine the morning of her arrest and knowing she and Schwarz did not have permission to live on the property.

The homeowner was unaware of the uninvited guests because the house was uninhabited while it underwent renovations.

MPD forwarded first-degree criminal trespassing charges – class 6 felonies — against Tow and Schwarz after their arrests at approximately 7:33 a.m.

Tow is also tagged with additional charges of third-degree burglary, a class 4 felony; possession of a dangerous drug, a class 4 felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class 6 felony.

Both were later transported to the Pinal County Jail.

Two young people were treated on scene by first responders. Photo by Mason Callejas

An collision snarled traffic at a busy intersection Thursday afternoon as schools were dismissing classes.

Maricopa Police Department reported no serious injuries, though two juveniles in one of the vehicles complained of stomach pain and were treated on scene at Honeycutt and Porter roads.

According to MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, a southbound van on Porter collided with a northbound Jeep trying to turn left onto Honeycutt Road. The juveniles were passengers in the Jeep. The investigation became a matter of what color the north-south traffic lights were.

Photo by Mason Callejas

“The driver of the Jeep stated the light was red,” Alvarado said. “The driver of the van said the light was yellow. An independent witness at the scene said the light was green.”

Police sided with the independent witness and cited the Jeep driver for causing an accident.

Neither vehicle sustained serious damage and both were able to be driven from the scene. 


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

After a young boy went missing from a babysitter's home on Michaels Drive, MPD forwarded charges.

Olivia Merolli, the unlicensed daycare provider who admits to losing a 2-year-old from her home in February, could face legal trouble.

The Maricopa Police Department forwarded one charge of “child or vulnerable adult abuse” against Merolli to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office after the investigation ended in March.

If PCAO pursues the recommendation, Merolli could face a minimum of 2.5 years behind bars if convicted of the class 3 felony for recklessly endangering the health or welfare of a child.

Additionally, MPD submitted its investigation into Merolli’s in-home daycare operation to Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that regulates childcare facilities.

The police investigation alleges Merolli told officers she was caring for 14 children, ranging from 9 months old to 4 years old, in her Rancho El Dorado home the day the child went missing for two hours on Feb. 20.

A childcare provider supervising five children or more must be licensed by the state.

The MPD report alleges Merolli said “she already knew she wasn’t supposed to have 14 children at her residence, but she didn’t attempt to hide that (from officers).”

As previously reported, Merolli said she wasn’t aware the 2-year-old boy was gone from the home until his father arrived to pick him up. She could not be reached for comment on this story.

The report said landscapers found the child 0.2 miles from Merolli’s home – an estimated 3-minute walk.

Steven Ross, the boy’s father, said he and his girlfriend will pursue civil damages against Merolli.

“We’re also going to be pursuing a lawsuit for emotional distress and pain and suffering and anything else we can,” Ross said.

Merolli allegedly told officers during the investigation that her other clients were aware the child had gone missing while under her care, but they “will continue to use her services.”


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

 

Kourtney Burlison (PCSO photo)

Police say they found dangerous drugs on a woman they found sleeping behind a dumpster Monday.

Kourtney Burlison, 29, was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing and possession of meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia outside Fry’s Marketplace March 26 at approximately 7:33 a.m.

A Maricopa Police Department report stated the drugs were in “unmeasurable quantities” and were found along with two glass pipes inside Burlison’s sweatshirt pocket. Officers found Burlison after responding to a call for a welfare check on a person sleeping behind a Fry’s dumpster.

Burlison was reportedly trespassed from Fry’s Marketplace Feb. 21 and had two shoplifting citations filed against her in the Maricopa Municipal Court in February and March.

The officer arrested Burlison on the trespassing charge. A subsequent search of Burlison by the officer produced “two glass pipes with burnt residue, one small baggy of green substance later positively tested for marijuana and a small bag with a small clear rock later positively tested for methamphetamine,” according to the report.

After being read her Miranda rights, Burlison reportedly invoked her right to remain silent.

MPD transported Burlison to the Pinal County Jail where she could face a maximum penalty of six years behind bars, if convicted on all charges.

Alisha Lewis (PCSO photo)

An alleged argument over rent led to an assault charge and jail time for a Maricopa woman Monday evening.

The Maricopa Police Department responded to a residence on North Miller Way in the Maricopa Meadows subdivision March 19 around 6:26 p.m.

Alisha Lewis, 30, told officers she confronted her female roommate about a rent payment earlier that evening.

“(Lewis) further stated she became angry with (the victim) and admitted she initiated a physical fight with (the victim),” the report alleges.

The reporting officer noted multiple abrasions on the victim’s face, as well as a small scratch under her left eye.

Lewis, who has no prior violence convictions, was booked into Pinal County Jail on charges of assault, a class 1 misdemeanor; and disorderly conduct, also a class 1 misdemeanor.

Lewis remains in custody at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence.


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Andres Ortega (PCSO photo)

Police arrested a man last week for allegedly assaulting an officer at a local restaurant.

Andres Alonso Ortega, 37, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault against a peace officer and resisting arrest March 14 at Domino’s Pizza, 20046 N. John Wayne Parkway.

A caller prompted help from the Maricopa Police Department at 9:58 p.m., alleging Ortega was being “very aggressive” and was “threatening to beat them.”

The report doesn’t identify whether the caller was a Domino’s employee or customer.

Ortega was highly intoxicated, combative and “verbally assaultive” with officers once they arrived, according to the report.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department also arrived to assist Ortega, who the report states was complaining of stomach pain.

The report alleges Ortega hit an officer’s hand “in an aggressive manner” while the officer attempted to assist him in receiving medical attention from MF/MD.

Ortega then refused to get inside a patrol vehicle and “had to be hobbled in order to be transported,” according to the report. Hobbling is a restraint used by law enforcement to secure a person’s wrists and ankles behind their back.

Police transported Ortega to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center for a medical evaluation for his stomach pain before eventually booking him into Pinal County Jail.

Ortega has a lengthy arrest sheet, including prior arrests for aggravated assault against a peace officer and resisting arrest in 2011. The assault charge was dismissed by the court, according to Pinal County Superior Court documents.

Ortega pled guilty to disorderly conduct (fighting) in 2017 and a subsequent domestic violence complaint was dismissed in Maricopa.

In 2017-18 throughout Maricopa and Phoenix, Ortega was allegedly charged with multiple criminal trespassing violations, criminal damage, disorderly conduct (noise), assault and public liquor consumption.

Domenico Cicirello. Submitted photo

The Maricopa Police Department is searching for a teenager after his mother reported his disappearance early Sunday morning.

Nunzia Parra said she last saw her 15-year-old son, Domenico Cicirello, around 9 p.m. on March 17 at their home in Rancho El Dorado.

Parra said she noticed Domenico missing from the home early the next morning.

MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said they received the report at 3:30 a.m., March 18. Alvarado said MPD is pursuing all avenues to locate the teen, whom they have listed as a runaway.

If you have any information, please contact the Maricopa Police Department, 520-568-3673.

ShutterStock

 

A citywide, free program aims to assist its homebound residents through phone calls and social visits.

The You Are Not Alone (YANA) program launched in 2015 and has since saved lives, said Mary Witkofski, Maricopa’s community programs manager.

Maricopa Police Department volunteers make weekly phone calls to participants. If contact is not made after three attempts, an emergency contact person is notified.

That’s what happened one Fourth of July two years ago when a woman was not answering a volunteer’s calls.

“The emergency contact, thank goodness, lives down the street,” Witkofski said. “He went (to her house) and actually found his mother laying on the floor.”

Emergency responders transported her to a local hospital where she eventually recovered.

Situations like these, Witkofski said, are reasons YANA is effective; and in cases where an emergency contact person cannot be reached, YANA volunteers will enlist the help of MPD.

In addition to the weekly calls, volunteers connect with participants by making quarterly, planned visits to their homes.

Witkofski said the volunteers socialize, play card games and have conversations with the residents.

Volunteers pass a fingerprint and background clearance and then go through training. MPD volunteers are mandatory reporters to adult protective services and have learned to identify signs of late-life domestic violence, abuse, depression, identity theft and scam.

Vice Mayor Peg Chapados, a senior advocate through Maricopa Seniors Inc., said YANA is a valuable resource for seniors living alone “because it’s a way to ‘stay connected’ and let people know that there is always someone who cares about their well-being.”

Generally, program participants are over 65 and live alone or are alone during the day and have limited mobility.

“(YANA’s purpose) is to maintain their independence, not take it away from them and I think that’s an important piece,” Witkofski said.

Age is not necessarily a qualifying condition, however. Those who have disabilities or are at home recovering from a procedure and are alone during the day are also are eligible for the program.

Qualified, part-time residents are also eligible to enroll while they are living in the city.

The program currently has 19 enrollees and Witkofski would like to see more.

“We definitely have room for growth,” she said.

YANA partners with community and social service agencies like the Maricopa Public Library’s All Access Homebound Delivery, COMET transit, Age-Friendly Committee and the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens to provide additional resources for its participants.

The program came about after the city conducted a human-needs assessment which identified a gap in senior assistance.

Witkofski said participants who are hearing impaired can opt for a weekly text message instead of phone call.

520-316-6800, ext. 1234
vaps@Maricopa-AZ.gov


This story appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.