Sheriff’s office seeks person of interest in connection with Queen Creek thefts

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office—Queen Creek is asking for the public’s help to capture a person of interest believed to be involved in a number of burglaries and thefts that took place Feb. 22-23 in Queen Creek and its neighboring communities.

MCSO deputies are looking for a white or light-skinned Hispanic man believed to be in his mid-20s to mid-30s, MCSO Capt. Randy Brice said during a phone interview. The suspect is believed to stand about 5-feet-7-inches to 5-feet-8-inches tall, weigh about 200 pounds and have brown hair, Capt. Brice said.

Capt. Brice declined to share a description of the suspect’s vehicle at this time. However, he said investigators believe the person committing the crimes cruises neighborhoods looking for unlocked vehicles parked outside a home or on the street. If a vehicle is unlocked, the thief has taken items from inside the vehicle. If the thief finds a garage door opener in the unlocked vehicle, he or she has used it to open the garage and steal from inside it, Capt. Brice said.

The suspect may be involved in seven thefts from vehicles and garages that took place overnight from late Monday, Feb. 22, to early morning Tuesday, Feb. 23, Capt. Brice said.

The incidents occurred in the northwest corner of Queen Creek, in an area bounded on the east and west by Power and Hawes Roads and north and south by Germann and Queen Creek roads, Capt. Brice said. They took place in the Cortina, Emperor Estates, Remington Ranch and Sossaman Estates neighborhoods, according to a post dated Feb. 23 on the town of Queen Creek Facebook page.

All of these incidents involved unlocked and unsecured vehicles, according to the Facebook post. In some cases, the garage door remote left in the unlocked vehicle was used to access the garage and other vehicles parked inside the garage. In one case, an unlocked vehicle was stolen from an open garage, Capt. Brice said.

Capt. Brice said MCSO investigators are working with their counterparts in police departments from Gilbert, Mesa and other Maricopa County islands to solve these and similar crimes that have taken place in those communities.

He said a Queen Creek resident who had been victimized had security video that could be of the suspect; he said his investigators were working to obtain video from two other people who were not victimized but who might have video of nearby criminal activity.

Queen Creek residents were informed of the crimes via NextDoor.com, an internal social media site that enables law enforcement agencies to communicate with its registered neighborhood residents, Capt. Brice said. He said the information was then posted on Facebook and Twitter.

NextDoor was developed by a prior law enforcement officer; people must reside in a neighborhood in order to sign up, Capt. Brice said.

People with information regarding these crimes, who saw anything suspicious or have video/camera equipment on the exterior of their  home are asked to call the sheriff’s office at 602-876-1011 or e-mail mcso@queencreek.org.

MCSO reminds residents to secure their homes and lock their vehicles. They should not leave garage door remotes inside vehicles that are parked outside (even if the car is locked), and they should not leave valuable property inside vehicles that are parked outside.

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123.

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