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A 22-year-old man was arrested for allegedly assaulting his grandfather over a disagreement regarding access to a television set Thursday morning in Rancho El Dorado.

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Sgt. Hal Koozer said the suspect, Dorin Martinez, is accused of physically assaulting his 73-year-old grandfather at the home they share near the 42000 block of Bunker Drive around 9:54 a.m. on Jan. 25.

“The grandpa locked the TV up, and the grandchild wanted it,” Koozer said.

The victim received a laceration to his face, but declined transportation to the hospital after being treated on scene by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department, according to MPD.

Koozer said no weapons were involved in the physical assault.

Police arrested Martinez and will forward a domestic violence assault charge to Pinal County Attorney’s Office. 

 

Steven Billington (left) and Steve Hamby are accused of having a pound of meth. PCSO photos

Maricopa police arrested two men on multiple drug charges last week after allegedly discovering almost a pound of methamphetamine and syringes which also contained traces of the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

Steven Billington, 42, and Steve Hamby, 30, were taken into custody around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 19, after MPD allegedly found multiple plastic baggies containing around 28 grams of meth along with a scale, aluminum foil and two hypodermic needles.

The drugs were tested using a laser drug testing kit called Trunarc, which confirmed the substance to be meth, the report says. The Trunarc device was also used to test one of the syringes that contained a brown liquid that tested positive for both meth and fentanyl.

Fentanyl and other more powerful synthetic painkillers have been linked to many of the overdose deaths associated with the opioid epidemic. Typically mixed with heroin, the drug is also being mixed with other drugs like stimulants such as meth and cocaine.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Since the recent uptick in opioid and opiate use, the Trunarc device has proven to be a valuable tool to law enforcement and public health officials when determining if powerful synthetic analgesic like fentanyl, carfentanil and their variants have entered a community.

The two men were initially stopped by MPD for allegedly driving a car displaying license plates which were suspended. The driver – Billington – was cited for also not having a valid driver’s license. During a “tow inventory,” the drugs and paraphernalia were found, the report says.

Billington was charged with transporting meth for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia, which combined carry a presumptive punishment of six years in prison.

Hamby was charged with possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a dangerous drug with intent to sale and possession of drug paraphernalia, which combined carry a presumptive punishment of eight and a half years in prison.

Both Billington and Hamby were booked into Pinal County Jail.


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Shawn Main. PCSO photo

 

The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy of 3-year-old Tiana Capps, whom the state alleges was abused then killed by her caretaker near Maricopa, testified in court Thursday.

Jennifer Chen with the Pima County Office of Medical Examiner said her examination on Nov. 20, 2015, revealed the child suffered at least 12 “impacts sites” to her face and head caused from a blunt force object.

The trauma caused abrasions, contusions, two hemorrhages on the brain and eventually death. Chen listed the toddler’s death as a homicide.

Chen’s autopsy report also found Tiana was “undernourished,” weighed 24 pounds at the time of her death, and had poor dental health and a severe diaper rash.

Prosecutors say Shawn Main is responsible. She’s facing a first-degree murder charge and the death penalty along with multiple counts of child abuse. Thursday’s testimony was part of a Chronis hearing, required in Arizona to establish probable cause in death-penalty cases.

Main allegedly told police in 2015 she was Tiana’s sole caretaker at a home they shared with two other women and Tiana’s three siblings in an unincorporated area of Maricopa. One of the other women was the children’s biological mother, Tina Morse.

The state claims aggravating factors in the case include the girl’s young age and the “especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner” of the crime.

Main’s defense counsel asked Chen whether Tiana could have been asleep or unconscious during the impacts, and if it was possible the toddler could have felt no pain if the latter were true.

Chen said pain levels are subjective, but the child would have had to suffer at least one impact before losing consciousness.

“Generally, head trauma causes pain,” Chen said.

During questioning from both sides, Chen testified she could not determine whether the trauma was caused by a blunt object striking the child’s head or if her head repeatedly hit a blunt object.

Main allegedly made statements to police explaining Tiana had been “falling a lot” before her death and had become “defiant and oppositional,” prosecutor Shawn Jensvold said in court.

“(The child’s) injuries were not consistent with a simple fall,” Chen said.

The defense pointed out during questioning that the autopsy report did not list any defensive wounds on the child’s hands and forearms.

In response to prosecution, Chen said Tiana would “likely not” be able to defend herself against an adult because of her age and that an undernourished body causes “a person to feel weaker, tired, with less energy.”

Chen’s testimony also included questions from prosecution about a note allegedly authored by Main after the autopsy report.

In it, Jensvold said Main allegedly “exonerated the other two adults that were in the house.”

Testimony from the detective on the case is expected to reveal more about the note and other details when the hearing continues March 2 at 8:30 a.m. at the Pinal County Superior Court.


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Everton Williams. PCSO photo

A man was charged with aggravated assault after allegedly biting a Maricopa Police officer Jan. 6 while being transported to jail on charges of allegedly threatening to shoot a woman and marijuana possession.

MPD records show Everton Williams, 30, allegedly bit the officer during transport when officers attempted to put Williams in a “spit mask” after he “became combative and began spitting in the car.”

Williams was initially arrested around 1:15 a.m. after an officer investigating an alleged threat he made against a woman sitting in her car.

At around 12:30 a.m. the alleged victim was sitting in a car in her driveway when a man fitting Williams description allegedly approached her and threatened to shoot her, according to the report.

The victim claimed she did not know Williams and no motive was mentioned in the report.

After receiving word of the incident, MPD was able to identify and locate the vehicle Williams was a passenger in at the intersection of Smith-Enke and Porter roads.

During the traffic stop, MPD records indicate officers smelled an odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle. The vehicle was then searched, and marijuana was found in the “passenger compartment.” Williams allegedly admitted it was his despite not having a medical marijuana card.

Additionally, Williams admitted to speaking with the woman, though he denies making any threats.

The police report gives no indication any firearms were found.

While being transported to jail in Florence on charges of threatening and possession of marijuana, Williams allegedly became combative and began spitting in the police vehicle. After officers pulled over and attempted to restrain Williams he bit the officer’s middle finger, according to the report.

The officer was wearing gloves and only sustained minor bite marks not requiring medical attention.

Williams is being held at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on a $10,000 bond.

If convicted, he could face as many as 9 years behind bars.


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Three suspects were photographed by surveillance cameras leaving Walmart after 18 iPhones were stolen.

Three male suspects are wanted by Maricopa police for questioning in a Jan. 5 theft at Walmart, during which more than $15,000 in cellular phones were stolen.

MPD is calling this the getaway car.

Around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning three males were captured on surveillance footage entering the store, and allegedly distracting the sales clerk while brazenly stealing a total of 18 iPhones from behind the electronics counter.

“The males took turns distracting the clerk as they crawled under the service counter and used a pry bar type tool, to open a locked cabinet containing new iPhones,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said in a written statement.

The suspects then exited the store and fled in a white four-door sedan.

The Maricopa Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspects and asks that anyone with information regarding the theft or the identities of the suspects to please contact them on their non-emergency line at 520-568-3673.


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Jonah Honie

A man was arrested Dec. 29 on multiple charges related to drug possession and driving with an open container of alcohol after an officer stopped the man for allegedly flicking a cigarette butt out of the window of a vehicle he was driving.

Maricopa Police arrested Jonah Lewis Honie, 22, Friday night after an officer investigating the alleged littering incident found an open container of alcohol in the suspect’s vehicle and methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia on his person.

At around 11 p.m. the officer spotted Honie allegedly toss the butt in the area of John Wayne Parkway and Rancho El Dorado, the report says.

During the traffic stop, the officer noticed an open bottle of Southern Comfort on the floorboard of the back seat. The bottle was allegedly within reach of the driver, prompting Honie’s arrest, the report says.

During a search, a small “jewelry box” containing nine “small individually wrapped plastic ziploc [sic] style bags,” containing a substance later positively identified as methamphetamine, was allegedly found in Honie’s front pocket.

A small digital scale with white and brown residue was also allegedly found in Honie’s back pocket.

During a post-Miranda interview, Honie allegedly admitted “he intended to sell the baggies of methamphetamine to provide for his four children.”

He was booked into Pinal County Jail and later released.

In all, he was charged with littering, possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle, possession of a dangerous drug for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

If convicted Honie could face up to five years in prison. 


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David Goff (left) and Seth Rodriguez were arrested after being accused of shoplifting at Walmart. PCSO photos

After being arrested on shoplifting charges last week, a woman was also booked on possession of drug paraphernalia after police allegedly discovered a meth pipe on the woman’s person, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

During processing at the Maricopa Police Department on Dec. 19, Jolene Wilson, 35, told officers she had the meth pipe hidden in her “belly roll.”

Police allegedly found more paraphernalia on one of Wilson’s alleged shoplifting accomplices, 26-year-old David Goff.

“Upon searching Goff, an empty syringe was discovered which was described by David as his syringe for ‘shooting up heroin,’” the police report alleges.

Wilson and Goff were arrested alongside 24-year-old Seth Rodriguez after a trip to Walmart, where the trio is accused of stealing over $600 worth of merchandise at approximately 3:25 p.m. on Dec. 19.

Items allegedly stolen from the store include a television, hoverboard, tools and toys. The incident was caught on camera by a loss-prevention store associate.

As Wilson sat in the driver seat of a silver sedan outside Walmart, the police report states, surveillance cameras recorded Goff and Rodriguez leaving the store with merchandise in their carts they did not purchase.

“The two male suspects entered the vehicle and all three fled the scene with the trunk to the vehicle still open,” according to the police report.

Approximately three minutes later, officers spotted the vehicle turning north onto White and Parker Road from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. MPD later pulled the sedan over at White and Parker Road and Lococo Street.

The report alleges Wilson told responding officers on scene she and her two passengers were driving from Coolidge to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, “which was the opposite direction of where the car was driving.”

During the traffic stop, the Walmart loss-prevention employee was transported to the scene by MPD where she positively identified Goff and Rodriguez as being involved in the shoplifting.

All the stolen merchandise was discovered by officers inside the trunk of the sedan, according to the report. Goff allegedly admitted to shoplifting after the suspects were interviewed and read their Miranda rights.

All three were arrested on shoplifting charges and transported to the Pinal County Sherriff’s Office Jail. Goff and Wilson were also booked on possession of drug paraphernalia.



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88 pounds of marijuana seized

Jorge Gonzalez is accused of trying to smuggle marijuana. PCSO photos

Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man near Stanfield Wednesday morning on charges of smuggling roughly 88 pounds of marijuana.

Jorge Gonzalez, 32, was arrested around 6:30 a.m. on a stretch of Highway 84 between State Route 347 and Interstate 8 after deputies attempted to stop the vehicle he was in for moving violations.

PCSO spokesperson Navideh Forgahni said deputies attempted to stop the green Ford pick-up truck after it was spotted speeding and rolling through a stop sign in the area.

As the truck pulled over, Forgahni said, six passengers, including the driver, fled into the desert.

Deputies found Gonzalez hiding under a large sheet of plywood in the bed of the truck alongside several bails of marijuana.

Customs and Border Patrol later found and arrested two of the six individuals who fled, Forgahni said.

CBP did not immediately provide the identities of those arrested.

All who fled were wearing camouflage, she said, “which is an indication of human and drug smuggling.”

Earlier this month PCSO recovered 150 pounds of marijuana in a similar traffic stop where five individuals immediately fled from the scene.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb addressed the issue in a video uploaded to social media Dec. 21, saying how, as a result of the cooler weather, this kind of crime seems to be on the rise.



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The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spearheaded a county-wide drunk driving task force Dec. 14-17 resulting in more than 30 DUI arrests, and another 16 for various other crimes.

PCSO deputies and law enforcement from other agencies made a total of 266 contacts with drivers during the four-day period, which resulted in 14 misdemeanor DUI arrests, nine drug-related DUI arrests, two aggravated DUI arrests and one extreme DUI arrest.

These numbers indicate during the time of the taskforce, an average of 1 in 9 Pinal County drivers is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

On Dec. 15 PCSO made more than 45 contacts in Maricopa alone.

The task force also issued 39 citations county-wide for various traffic infractions and other crimes.

Law enforcement agencies all across the valley tend to increase DUI enforcement around the holidays. However, regardless of the time of year, InMaricopa.com encourages all who drink to drink responsibly and to never get behind the wheel.



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Anthony Wyant faces several charges and Monique Quiroz is accused of attempted forgery in an incident at Wells Fargo. PCSO photos

A man was arrested Saturday at Wells Fargo in Maricopa for multiple charges stemming from an alleged forgery attempt in an incident that sent a police officer to the hospital.

Anthony Wyant, 51, of Mesa was arrested Dec. 16 at approximately 10:53 a.m. when he reportedly attempted to flee questioning by police regarding an attempted check forgery by an accomplice, 35-year-old Monique Quiroz of Casa Grande.

According to Maricopa Police Department records, Wyant first became “passively resistant” when police responding to investigate a check forgery in progress inside the bank asked him to exit the front passenger seat of the vehicle he was waiting in.

A warrant search was conducted for Wyant, revealing an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, the MPD report says. After further requests to exit the vehicle, he continued to refuse to comply at which point, the report alleges, Wyant put the vehicle in drive from the passenger seat and drove over a walkway, colliding with signage in front of the bank.

As a result of the incident, one MPD officer was injured. The officer was treated and later released from Chandler Regional Medical Center.

During further investigation, the MPD report says, the owner of the vehicle, a Scottsdale woman, stated neither Wyant nor Quiroz had permission to use the vehicle. Furthermore, the report alleges, Wyant provided an alias in an attempt to interfere with an investigation.

In all, Wyant was charged with nine separate offenses, including three counts of criminal damage, two counts of endangerment, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, false reporting to law enforcement and resisting arrest. He is being held at the Pinal County Jail in Florence on a $10,000 bond.

If convicted, Wyant faces more than 20 years in prison.

Quiroz was also arrested and charged with two counts of forgery. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.  She, too, is being held at the Pinal County Jail on a lesser $5,525 bond.



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Ched Bayles

A man and woman were arrested for shoplifting Saturday, just days after the man was arrested for allegedly assaulting and stealing from the same woman.

Ched Bayles, 28, and April Rarrick were arrested Dec. 16 for reportedly stealing multiple items from Fry’s grocery store, including a case of beer.

According to Maricopa Police Department reports, at around 8:50 p.m. Bayles, Rarrick and a third party, identified as Duane Antone, allegedly attempted to drive an electric shopping cart containing multiple items out of the store without paying.

The trio abandoned the cart in the parking lot and fled when an off-duty police officer attempted to stop them, according to the report.

Security camera footage allegedly shows Bayles grabbing a case of beer from the basket as he fled. Few minutes later, another off-duty officer saw Bayles riding a bike while holding the case of beer. Unaware of the incident, the officer did not attempt to contact Bayles.

Contact was eventually made with Bayles roughly half an hour later, though he was not in possession of the beer at the time, the report said. He was searched “incident to arrest” and was found to have other items in his backpack allegedly taken from Fry’s.

Rarrick was arrested around 9:15 p.m. when contact was made with her during what the report says was an “unrelated incident.”

Both were charged with theft and booked into Pinal County Jail.

Antone was not located at the time of the report. It is likely a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Less than a week prior to this incident, on Dec. 11, Bayles was arrested when Rarrick called police to report he had allegedly slashed the tires of her bike and stole several items from her after grabbing her violently and sitting on her chest. As a result of that incident, Bayles was charged with assault, theft and criminal damage.



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Shawn Main. PCSO photo

Attorneys for the state will call a medical examiner as witness in a special January hearing for Shawn Main, the woman accused of causing the death of 3-year-old Tiana Rosalie Capps in 2015.

Monday, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White rescheduled a “Chronis hearing” for Jan. 18, after its original date was vacated Dec. 1 due to a full court docket.

Main’s attorneys requested the hearing ahead of her trial in July, when she will be tried for capital murder. The hearing permits such defendants to “request a determination of probable cause as to alleged aggravating circumstances,” according to Arizona Supreme Court Law.

During the status review hearing Dec. 18, Prosecutor Vince Goddard revealed the state’s argument in the future Chronis hearing will be based on two aggravating circumstances: the victim’s age and the offense allegedly being heinous, cruel and depraved.

The hearing is scheduled to last two hours with the state’s main testimony coming from a medical examiner.

“I think the state’s case would be about 45 minutes, and that’s almost 100 percent going to be the medical examiner,” Goddard said during the hearing Monday.

The autopsy performed by Pima Medical Examiner’s Office two years ago showed Tiana died from repeated blunt-force trauma Nov. 19, 2015, while in the care of Main.

After her death, Tiana’s three surviving siblings were taken into protective custody and had been also reportedly subjected to abuse and neglect.

On Christmas Eve that year, Main and two other women living in the household were arrested: Main’s wife Maria Tiglao and the children’s biological mother Tina Morse.

Main, Tiana’s caretaker, was subsequently charged with murder while the other two women were charged with varying counts of child abuse.

The Chronis hearing is set for Jan. 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse.



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Ched Bayles

A Maricopa man was arrested Monday on assault charges stemming from a strange incident of alleged domestic violence where the man reportedly slashed the victims bicycle tires after pushing her to the ground and threatening her.

Ched Bayles, 28, attempted to evade police after the incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 11.

According to a Maricopa Police Department report, around 12:30 a.m. Bayles and the victim, later identified as his girlfriend, were walking with their bikes near John Wayne Parkway and Alterra Parkway when Bayles allegedly “began acting strange” and aggressively grabbed her, causing them both to fall.

Bayles then proceeded to kneel on the victim’s chest, restricting her breathing while allegedly saying “I could just hit you in the face,” according to the report.

The victim said Bayles eventually stood up and, using a camouflage folding knife, allegedly slashed the tires on both bikes.

Bayles then fled the scene prior to MPD’s arrival.

Roughly two hours later, around 2:45 a.m. Bayles was spotted in the area and, when approached by officers, attempted to flee on foot. After a short chase, Bayles was successfully arrested and booked into Pinal County Jail, charged with assault, theft and criminal damage.

Along with one of the bikes, Bayles is also accused of stealing a flashlight from his girlfriend.

The combined value of the damaged and stolen items totals around $1,175.

Bayles has an extensive history of petty crimes including shoplifting, drug and alcohol related charges and a litany of traffic citations.

If convicted, Bayles faces more than a year in jail.


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Law enforcement officials are seeking information that may lead to the arrest of a suspect in a carjacking in Maricopa Tuesday night.

Maricopa Police Department spokesperson Ricardo Alvarado said the incident took place near the Tacos ‘N’ More on John Wayne Parkway.

According to the report, a woman was sitting in her car near the restaurant around 7:30 p.m. when the suspect approached wearing a Halloween mask and brandishing a handgun.

The suspect, who the woman believed to be male, then demanded her vehicle and forced her from it, Alvarado said. No injuries were reported.

The car, a gray 2016 Kia sport utility vehicle, was last seen heading north on State Route 347 and has not been located since. Investigators are following all possible leads, including surveillance footage from surrounding businesses, Alvarado said.

MPD asks anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect or the vehicle to contact them on their non-emergency line at 520-568-3673, or to use the MPD smartphone app or website to file an anonymous tip.



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Ronald Bragonier. PCSO photo

A man accused of sex crimes involving a minor was arrested Nov. 28 after the teen and multiple witnesses reported the alleged inappropriate contact.

Ronald Bragonier, 54, was arrested around 5 p.m. Tuesday after an investigation into allegations were reportedly substantiated by witnesses, who noted his odd behavior during the time of the alleged contact. That took place in multiple cities and multiple states between May and October, according to MPD reports.

Nov. 25, police were first notified by family of the 14-year-old victim, who had recently disclosed being molested by Bragonier in Orlando, Florida, Chandler and Maricopa.

A woman police describe as Bragonier’s “significant other,” who is a cheerleading coach at Rock Star Cheer, further substantiated the claim after she, too, reported to authorities the “inappropriate relationship” she believed he was having with the child, who attended the gym.

According to the police report, Bragonier was considered a close friend of the victim’s family, who had a “trusting relationship” with him. The victim spent the night with Bragonier and the coach’s family on multiple occasions.

During that time the significant other noticed Bragonier had been paying an odd amount of attention to the victim, “spoiling” the victim with “thousands” of dollars in gifts.

Nov. 18, the report stated Rock Star Cheer owner Elizabeth Mundell witnessed an argument at the facility between Bragonier and the victim, which, she said, “looked as if two people who were dating were having an argument.”

The report further stated Mundell witnessed Bragonier show up to multiple practices and ask to speak with the victim outside. Bragonier was not an employee of the gym.

“I’m cooperating in anyway possible that I can,” Mundell said in separate phone interview with InMaricopa. “We are covered by two restraining orders [against Bragonier].”

To the best of her knowledge none of the alleged incidents occurred at the gym, she said.

“We have such strong policies to support our business so that something like this doesn’t happen, with mandated reporting, with green-light clearances, with staff members never being left alone with anyone,” Mundell said.

The gym has a policy of conducting background checks on all gym employees, including employees who work the front desk and clean the facility, she said.

To be clear, she said, he was a parent who would help out from time to time.

Prior to the incident mentioned in the police report, Mundell said, she never witnessed or was made aware of any questionable conduct from Bragonier. And that incident, she added, was reported to the child’s father immediately.

During a forensic interview, the victim stated Bragonier’s escalating sexual contact caused the victim to try to keep him at a distance, which made him angry, resulting in the Nov. 18 fight witnessed by Mundell and others, the report says.

Bragonier’s significant other additionally reported he was acting unstable and irrational to the point where she feared for her and her family’s safety, the report says. She and her family were granted an Order of Protection against Bragonier Nov. 27.

During his Nov. 28 arrest, according to the report, Bragonier unlocked his cellphone to obtain contact information of a family member. At that time, “detectives observed the password entered to access the cellphone happened to be [the victim’s] birthday.”

Bragonier was arrested on a total of three charges including molestation of a child, dangerous crimes against children and sexual conduct with a minor.

Considering the nature of the alleged crimes, his reported irrational behavior and a request from Florida law enforcement that he have a high bond, Bragonier is being held on a $500,000 bond at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence.

If convicted, in Arizona alone, Bragonier could face life in prison.


This story has been updated from a previous version.


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Suspected of robbing a woman at a drive-through ATM are Kyron Davis, Amber Cruz and Tesla Acosta. PCSO photos

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery that took place at a Maricopa ATM Sunday.

The suspects – one male and two females – allegedly used a firearm to rob a woman withdrawing money at the Bank of America drive-through ATM located on John Wayne Parkway.

According to Maricopa Police Department records, Kyron Davis, 20, Amber Cruz, 21, and Tesla Acosta, 21, allegedly approached the woman sitting in her car at the ATM at around 12:30 a.m. Davis then allegedly pointed a gun at the victim, robbing her of $260 and a cellular phone valued at $800, according to the report from the Maricopa Police Department.

The three suspects were arrested by Chandler Police roughly two hours later after officers were able to track the phone as it “pinged” off cellular towers in the area.

According to the report, “the suspects were stopped by the Chandler Police Department for matching the description of suspects wanted for armed robbery in the City of Maricopa.”

Davis, Acosta and Cruz were all booked into the Pinal County jail on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, misconduct involving weapons and reckless endangerment.

Additionally, Davis was charged as a prohibited possessor of a firearm.

Depending on how the charges compound, Acosta and Cruz could face as many as 32 years in prison. Davis, as a prohibited possessor, could face as many as 34 years in prison.


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John Barrera. PCSO photo

A Maricopa man has been arrested on multiple assault charges after an alleged domestic violence incident Thursday, during which, reports say, he never actually touched anyone.

John Barrera, 51, was booked by the Maricopa Police Department on a total of four counts of aggravated assault after allegedly threatening multiple people with a knife during an argument Nov. 9.

MPD reports allege Barrera was involved in an altercation with another individual inside a Homestead residence during which he grabbed a knife and began “swinging the knife at them” but “did not make contact with anyone.”

One of the witnesses, a minor, corroborated the account, the report says.

Barrera allegedly began yelling and pointing a knife at the witness after they tried to enter a kitchen area to get food, according to the report. Again, the witness said they were able to get away without being hurt.

Both witnesses and the arresting officer stated Barreras made “irrational” and unclear statements during the incident.

Despite never actually making physical contact, Arizona law (13-1204 (B)) states a person need only place “another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” for it to be considered assault.

Barrera is being held on a $10,000 bond at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center, in Florence.

If convicted on all four charges, Barrera could face more than 16 years in prison.

Kathryn Sinkevitch will be tried for the murder of her former boyfriend. PCSO photo

The murder case against the Tempe woman accused of killing 31-year-old Michael Agerter in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado nearly one year ago is inching closer to trial.

Kathryn Sinkevitch stood in front of Pinal County Judge Steven Fuller Monday morning for a brief status review hearing. Fuller covered the case for Judge Kevin White, who was assigned to hear a separate trial that morning.

Representing Sinkevitch since late June was attorney Bret Huggins, who requested an additional status review hearing for a date soon after the New Year in preparation for a spring trial.

James Mannato, original attorney for Sinkevitch, withdrew from the case in June for an unspecified “conflict of interest.” Mannato is a public defender.

Huggins also asked Fuller to affirm the May 8, 2018, trial date.

Pinal County Deputy Attorney Sean Coll did not object, adding Agerter’s next of kin indicated they were available to attend court on those dates.

Sinkevitch will stand trial for four weeks in front of a 12-person jury. A grand jury indicted her with first-degree murder in late December 2016.

Sinkevitch has submitted a not guilty plea.

Coll tossed the possibility of a capital case in March citing a lapsed deadline. It was at that time Coll said the Pinal County’s Attorney’s Office would not offer a plea.

Agerter is linked to Sinkevitch by a 1-year-old child that was said to have been the center of a custody dispute between the pair. Agerter was found shot to death in his garage one month after the baby’s birth in the garage of his Maricopa home on Dec. 16, 2016.

It is unclear what Sinkevitch’s defense will be in trial.

In February, White approved the appointment of Susan Schoville with Valley-based Blue Core Investigative Solutions to “assist the defendant and her legal counsel in the investigation and development of her defense,” according to court documents.

Schoville began her investigation in June with Huggins, Sinkevitch and their 144-page case file. Schoville compiled an outline of the case including 911 calls and discovery videos presumably from the defendant’s work dated Dec. 16 through the 19th.

Sinkevitch will be in court again Jan. 9 at 9 a.m.

Maricopa County has issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Chamber, whom officials believe is in this footage of a break-in a local Islamic center. Submitted photo

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man sought for his alleged involvement in the burglary of Islamic worship centers in both Maricopa and Chandler in March.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich handed down an arrest warrant Nov. 3 for Andrew Charles Chambers for allegedly breaking into the Islamic religious centers and stealing money from donation boxes.

Detectives from both the Maricopa and Chandler police departments reviewed surveillance footage from both mosques and were able to identify Chambers as the alleged burglar, the AG’s office said in a press release.

On the evening of March 30 and morning of March 31, Chambers allegedly broke into the Masjid Bilal Rabah Mosque in Maricopa and the Islamic Center of the East Valley in Chandler and stole an unknown amount of money.

Though neither mosque could say the exact amount stolen, charges indicate that somewhere between $2,000-3,000 was taken from one site, and less than $1,000 was taken from the other.

The warrant, issued out of Maricopa County Superior Court, contains a total of eight charges against Chambers – two counts of third degree burglary, class 4 felonies, two counts of possession of burglary tools, class 6 felonies, two counts of aggravated criminal damage, class 6 felonies, and two counts of theft, one class 5 felony and one class 1 misdemeanor.

If convicted, Chambers faces up to seven years in prison.

Chambers is wanted by authorities in both Alabama and Virginia for allegedly committing similar crimes, the release said. He was arrested in 2013 in Virginia for allegedly breaking into a Woodbridge mosque but fleeing after realizing the building was occupied. He was described as 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and at the time was driving a truck with North Dakota plates.

His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Authorities claim he could be using multiple aliases including Martin Andrew, Flint Frank, Andy Chambers, Flint Franks, Steven Franks, Andrew Ghambers and Flint O’Neil.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Chambers is urged to contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office or the Maricopa and Chandler Police Departments.

Submitted photo

A group of middle-school students was allegedly harassed by an unknown individual in a black mask Tuesday morning.

Officials at Pima Butte Elementary School sent out an advisory bulletin around 11 a.m. warning parents that around 8:20 a.m., a man in a black “ski mask” harassed the students as they waited for their bus near the corner of Van Der Veen Way and Rancho El Dorado Parkway.

The man, according to the bulletin, stopped his vehicle – a light-red Ford pickup truck – then got out and allegedly shouted something inaudible at a group of Desert Wind Middle School students waiting at the stop.

As a bus approached, the bulletin says, the man wearing the mask, black pants and a red, white and black striped collared shirt, got back in to the pickup and drove away.

“One of the witnesses on scene believes they knew who it was,” Maricopa police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

MPD is pursing that lead, he said.

At this time, police believe the man does not pose any further threat.

This story has been updated from a previous version.


Assault charges are pending against a teen after she allegedly kicked another, pregnant teen in an altercation at Maricopa High School.

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said the incident involving the two juveniles occurred around 2:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27. The alleged offender supposedly kicked the other teen, described as four months pregnant, in the back causing her to fall to the ground, Alvarado said.

The pregnant teen refused medical treatment on scene and that “she would seek treatment on her own,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado further stated the teen responsible for the alleged assault was released into the custody of her mother. No motives for the fight were given.

As for the student’s punishment, Maricopa Unified School District superintendent Steve Chestnut said, “disciplinary consequences as described in the Secondary Student Handbook are being followed.”

Assault is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Breon Stephens is accused of helping in an armed robbery at the Shell station Monday.

Police say the “lookout” in an armed robbery at a Maricopa gas station earlier this week has been identified and arrested.

According to the Maricopa Police Department, 30-year-old Breon Stephens is an alleged accomplice to Monday’s hold-up at the Shell Food Mart and Dairy Queen on John Wayne Parkway and Garvey Avenue.

Stephens was arrested Tuesday when a warrant was executed by MPD at a residence on Edwards Circle, near Maricopa High School. The arrest activity caused the school to go into lockdown.

Stephens has been charged with robbery, aggravated robbery and possession of drug paraphernalia. If convicted, he could face up to 23 years in prison.

A second suspect who allegedly brandished a gun during the robbery remains at large. MPD is “pursuing all leads” to bring that individual into custody.

Maricopa Police Department is seeking suspects in an armed robbery at a gas station Monday night. Photo by Mason Callejas

Three individuals are being sought in connection with an armed robbery at a Maricopa gas station Monday night.

The Shell Food Mart and Dairy Queen on John Wayne Parkway was robbed Oct. 23, around 10 p.m., by three people, a Shell employee said.

Cashier Bonnie Johns said she was not at work when the incident took place. However, she was called in shortly after the incident to relieve the cashier who was working at the time of the robbery.

Johns said one of the three individuals was armed with a gun.

This is their third armed robbery in as many years, Johns said. She was also not working when the other robberies took place.

“I’ve had a few beer-runs, but nothing like this,” Johns said referring to petty thefts that occur from time to time.

Maricopa Police Department Spokesperson Daniel Rauch confirmed the department received an armed robbery call around 10 p.m. However, as of publication of this article, he was unable to confirm the robbery had occurred at the Shell station.

Roush also confirmed there was a “weapon” involved, though he wouldn’t say what type.

No one was injured, Rauch said.

MPD is reviewing video surveillance footage of the incident, and will release more details as the investigation moves forward.

InMaricopa is continuing to follow this developing story.

Arthur Eric Magana and Gustavo Olivo are charged with murder. PCSO photos

Two teenagers accused of shooting 20-year-old Wyatt Miller to death in the seat of his truck last November appeared again in court Monday morning.

Arthur Eric Magana and Gustavo Olivo, both charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery, are preparing for an April trial. Judge Kevin White heard from the teens’ attorneys on the possibility of a settlement conference.

“We were advised by email by the County Attorney’s Office that they had staffed the case and that no plea offer would be coming,” said James Soslowsky, Magana’s attorney.

Attorney John Schaus, representing Olivo, told White his client might be open to resolving the case, “but there isn’t an offer (from the state) right now.”

White asked the state to clarify whether it would make an offer – or accept offers from the defendants – by the next court date on Dec. 11. White also addressed apparent problems behind the scenes between Olivo and Schaus.

In September, Olivo motioned the court for “substitution of attorney on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel.”

During that hearing, White delayed the motion and encouraged Schaus to have “meaningful communication” with his client before the next court date. Olivo told White Monday morning he was withdrawing his motion to excuse his attorney.

“At this point, we are working with the client,” Schauss said.

Moving forward, White is expected to see motions from both attorneys come across his desk in the coming days.

Schauss said he filed a motion Friday regarding the cost of heavy administrative duties his office is tasked with to prepare for trial. In the motion, Schauss said he is asking permission from the court to print black-and-white photocopies of discovery, including photographs and Facebook communications.

“It’s just too much of a task on my copy machine at the office, so I have to go to Kinko’s or Staples to do that,” Shauss said.

Soslowsky said he will also file a motion “regarding my client’s statements to law enforcement.”

White told the defense he would prefer to see those matters addressed in court at least 60 days prior to trial.

The next hearing for Olivo and Magana will be Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.

Willie Lofton (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa teen has been arrested on several charges stemming from alleged assaults at Copper Sky earlier this month, after which videos were posted on social media allegedly showing him bragging about the incident.

Maricopa Police arrested 19-year-old Willie Lofton Oct. 7 on charges of assault, aggravated assault and criminal damage after allegedly starting multiple fights at Copper Sky on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5.

The first incident, according to MPD reports, occurred around 10 p.m. Oct. 4 when Lofton allegedly struck another individual in the face causing a concussion and multiple abrasions.

The MPD report alleges Lofton admitted assaulting the male individual after the victim said to Lofton, “Don’t stand by me like we cool.”

The following day, Oct. 5, at 11:15 a.m., multiple videos were posted to Lofton’s Facebook page allegedly showing Lofton bragging about the incidents while pointing out blood stains on the concrete near what appears to the be the Copper Sky skate park, and additional blood stains on his shoes.

The person filming, who police believe to be Lofton, can be heard saying “this is what I do for a living, knocking n—- out.”

The second incident also allegedly occurred at Copper Sky, roughly 11 hours after the videos were posted.

This time, according to the MPD report, Lofton allegedly began fighting several people at the park, striking one individual in the back of the head and then throwing “landscaping rocks” at a car as it drove away, causing damage to the vehicle.

According to multiple witnesses, the report says, Lofton then allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband, pointed it at a group of people and told them “he was going to kill them all.”

When police responded, Lofton fled the scene with several of his associates.

Two days later, on Oct. 7, information obtained during the investigation led to Lofton’s arrest. During a post-arrest interview, the reports says, Lofton allegedly admitted to both incidents.

He was ultimately arrested on warrants related to theft and marijuana possession, and charged with two counts of assault (class 1 misdemeanors), one count of aggravated assault (class 2 felony) and one count of criminal damage.

If convicted, Lofton could face up to 21 years in prison.

He is currently being held on a $13,500 bond at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center, and is awaiting a bond hearing on Oct. 13.

A love triangle and an alleged assault this summer led to one woman being charged last month.

In June, the Maricopa Police Department responded to a call at The New HQ bar where Guadalupe Torres was accused of pushing a woman to the floor.

Torres’ female friend reportedly kicked the woman as she was down, the victim told police in the report.

The victim broke her left ankle because of the fall and was immediately transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center, where she received surgery to repair the fracture. The victim later received “extensive rehabilitation” for the injury as well.

Torres and her friend fled the bar before MPD arrived, according to police.

The victim reported the incident is the result of an 8-month-long affair she said she was having with Torres’ husband.

One month before the incident, Torres and the victim communicated over the phone and through text messaging, the victim told police.

The women agreed to meet to discuss the affair, but police reports state the victim said Torres canceled the meeting because “she would probably want to fight (the victim).”

Police paid a visit to Torres at her home on Sept. 21, over three months after the alleged assault. The police report states Torres was charged with aggravated assault “based on the nature of (the victim’s) injury.”

According to state statute, Torres’ aggravated assault charge is a class 4 felony if convicted.

Shawn Main. PCSO photo

The woman accused of causing the 2015 death of a 3-year-old girl was back in Superior Court Monday afternoon.

Shawn Main, 46, appeared in front of Judge Kevin White as her attorney requested to set a date for a “Chronis” hearing.

This specific hearing only applies to capital cases and is “effectively a pre-trial probable cause hearing on the statutory aggravators that the state alleges,” said James Tanner, spokesman for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.

The two-hour court date is set for Dec. 1 at 8:30 a.m., and will feature appearances made by case witnesses.

The hearing is in preparation for a July trial. The state alleges Main caused the blunt-force trauma death of Tiana Rosalie Capps.

Living in the home at the time of Tiana’s death in unincorporated Maricopa were Tiana’s three siblings. Their two caregivers were Main and her wife, Maria Tiglao.

Another woman apparently living in the home was the children’s biological mother, Tina Morse, who said she did not contribute any care to her children.

After Tiana’s death, all three women were charged with varying counts of child abuse.

As previously reported, Tiglao is no longer in custody. Her case is pending action until Main’s trial concludes, Tanner said.

Morse is spending two years in jail after she accepted a plea deal in December 2016 of two counts of child abuse.

A report filed in January by the Arizona Department of Child Safety and Gov. Doug Ducey shows all three women had contact with DCS prior to Tiana’s death.

In 2003, six reports alleging physical abuse to a child were filed with DCS against Main.

“The Department’s investigations, along with an investigation by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, determined that the child’s injuries were being caused either by self-harm or by attempts to restrain the child,” the report states.

In 2009, a report was filed against both Main and Tiglao alleging neglect to three children.

“The report alleged concerns regarding the condition of the home and allegations that food and water were being restricted,” according to the report.

Each of the cases were closed due to the state’s findings that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

In 2014, a report to DCS accused Morse of neglecting Tiana and her siblings.

“The report alleged the children were not being adequately cared for and noted concerns regarding the condition of the home,” according to the report.

Morse and the children were not living with Main and Tiglao at the time of the reported allegation.

The DCS investigation into the allegations against Morse “assessed the children as safe in the care of their mother” and the case was closed.

Tiana died in the care of Main a little more than a year later.  After her death in November 2015, the other children were removed from the home and placed in licensed foster homes, the report states.

Jose Valenzuela was in Superior Court Monday for a pretrial hearing on murder charges in the deaths of Michael and Tina Careccia.

The trial for one of Maricopa’s most high-profile murder cases is on track, according to lawyers on both sides.

The trial date for accused double-murderer Jose Ignacio Valenzuela is set for Jan. 23 and is on schedule. Valenzuela is charged with the two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Tina and Michael Careccia.

Prosecutor Gary Husk and defense attorney James Mannato appeared along with Valenzuela in a Pinal County court room Monday as part of a status hearing. Both sides agreed they were on course to make the January court date.

The next status hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. in Judge Kevin White’s courtroom at Pinal County Superior Court in Florence. Because of the notoriety of the case, it has become the trial around which all other upcoming murder trials are scheduled.

On the evening of June 21, 2015, both victims were shot in the head with a .22 caliber pistol, the bodies buried next to the Valenzuela house and discovered two weeks later.

MFMD photo

Maricopa Police and Maricopa Fire/Medical departments are investigating a suspected case of arson after a car caught fire in The Lakes around midnight Tuesday morning.

The vehicle was parked in the driveway in front of the garage at the home on West Park Hill Drive. Witnesses said the car was doused in accelerant and set on fire by unknown subjects.

The homeowner tried to extinguish the flames and was burned on his arms and legs. He was transported to a hospital for treatment. Other members of the family and pets were treated before being allowed to return to the house, which had residual smoke.

Photo by Michelle Chance

Officers with the Chandler Police Department are searching for a strong-arm robbery suspect they believe to be hiding out in the neighborhood of Rancho El Dorado.

CPD said they have located the individual at a home in the area of Wade Drive but do not yet have him in custody.

Members of the Maricopa Police Department are working with CPD to establish a perimeter.

Residents in the are advised to stay indoors.

CPD public information officer Seth Tyler said the suspect allegedly committed a strong-arm robbery in Chandler early this morning and detectives tracked the suspect to the home in the Rancho development.

“Our SWAT team and Criminal Apprehension Unit is on-scene and working on getting the suspect into custody,” Tyler said.

Maricopa Unified School District spokesman Tom Beckett said MPD did advise them of the situation, but MUSD was not asked to put the nearest school – Santa Rosa Elementary – on lockdown.

They were, however, advised not to release their students until police deemed it safe. The students were released around 2:45.

At this time, it is unconfirmed if the suspect has been apprehended.

InMaricopa will continue to follow this developing story.

***

Update: The scene was cleared and the house was empty.

Neither CPD nor MPD has released a description of the suspect or explained how detectives tracked the suspect to Rancho El Dorado.