Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Operation Bonded Ammo

In October 2013, Mesa Detectives began an investigation on the Eazy Pick N Pawn located at 118 N. Alma School in Mesa. The investigation started after a traffic stop where a stolen handgun was located in the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was identified a Aaron Ellertson, owner of Eazy Pick N Pawn.

As the investigation unfolded, detectives found additional information that other items of stolen property were being run through the pawn shop on a daily basis. Property of every type was being purchased by the pawn shop with no questions asked. Televisions, blu-ray players, cellular phones, game systems, jewelry, laptop computers, I-pads, tools and any other items of value were taken in by the pawn shop. Approximately 300 guns were recovered. Three stolen vehicles and one stolen motorcycle were also recovered.
Some of the stolen guns recovered.
The investigation came to a close when detectives served search warrants on the business and locations owned and maintained by Ellertson. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in property is now being gone through to determine the proper owner. Because there are thousands of items recovered it will take some time to try and identify possible owners. In total, sixteen arrests were made in conjunction with the operation.

Additional stolen property recovered.
Working hand in hand with the investigation is ORCA (Organized Retail Crime Association). Members of ORCA have assisted in the identification of property stolen and pawned illegally by the business. When large operations like this are identified, partners like ORCA are crucial to prosecution of suspects.

Working with the citizens of Mesa and retail partners, the Mesa Police Department is dedicated to stopping this type of criminal activity.

Mayor Smith

Chief Milstead

Deputy Chief Deanna Cantrell

Members of the media at the press conference.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Armed Robbery Suspect

On April 5, 2014 at 5:23 am, the suspect rode his bicycle to the Chevron located at 1956 E. Southern Ave. and entered the store, holding a knife and waving it around. There were no customers in the store at that time. The suspect demanded money and cigarettes from the clerk, which he was given. The suspect then rode his bicycle away from the store heading northwest.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Native American male, 6' tall, 200 lbs., black hair, wearing a long-sleeved shirt, bandana and sunglasses.

Please submit any information regarding the crime or identity of the suspect(s) through the “Submit a Tip” option at www.CrimeReports.com or text information to 274-637 (CRIMES). Begin your message with MESAPD. You will remain anonymous. You can also call 480-644-2211 and select option 2. Refer to report number 20140950132.

Weekend Murder/Suicide at Poston Jr. High School

On Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 10:45 am, Mesa PD officers responded to the South parking lot of Poston Jr. High School, located at 2433 E. Adobe in Mesa. We received a 911 call from a neighborhood resident indicating he had found what appeared to be a male subject with a gunshot wound who was unresponsive. When our officers arrived they located a deceased male in the driver's seat of a black four door passenger care and a wounded, but unresponsive female in the passenger seat. Both subjects appeared to have gunshot wounds and a handgun was located inside the vehicle. The female was transported to a local hospital where she was also pronounced deceased. The deceased individuals have been identified as:

1. Jonathon Vargas, 25 years old
2. Victoria Gameros, 22 years old

At this point in the investigation, we have learned that the subjects lived together in Mesa and have been in a relationship for approximately 2-1/2 years. While it is still unknown what led up to this incident, the investigation indicates this is a murder/suicide committed by Jonathon Vargas. The incident and those involved have no relationship to Poston Jr. High beyond location. Next of kin have been notified.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Crime Stats - March 2014

The following are the top 5 calls for service and arrests for each patrol district -- 03/01/2014 through 03/31/2014.

Call TypeFrequencyCall TypeFrequency
Subjects Disturbing411Subjects Disturbing462
Check Welfare384Check Welfare358
Other Agency Assist201Other Agency Assist212
Loud Music/Noise196Loud Music/Noise201
Suspicious Activity147Suspicious Activity163

Aggravated Assault13Aggravated Assault12
Breaking & Entering10Breaking & Entering10
Other Assaults43Alcohol/DUI80
Disorderly Conduct16Other Assaults40
Sex Offenses1Sex Offenses4
All Other109All Other212


Call TypeFrequencyCall TypeFrequency
Subjects Disturbing371Check Welfare322
Check Welfare360Subjects Disturbing239
Other Agency Assist226Burglary Alarm227
Suspicious Activity221Other Agency Assist214
Burglary Alarm214Suspicious Activity184

Aggravated Assault16Aggravated Assault8
Breaking & Entering10Breaking & Entering8
Alcohol/DUI49Other Assaults32
Other Assaults62Disorderly Conduct15
Disorderly Conduct15Drugs34
Loitering/Runaway19Sex Offenses2
Sex Offenses1Vandalism19
Vandalism18All Other39
All Other139


Thursday, April 10, 2014

DNA Nails Habitual Burglar

On 4/9/14 at approximately 9:15 pm, an alert citizen observed 34-year-old suspect, Branden Mahlum, hide his bike between two cars parked at a business in the area of 7100 E. Main in Mesa.  Branden was seen forcing entry into a car as the alarm sounded, before fleeing the scene on his bike.  The citizen called 911 to report the burglary and gave a description of the suspect’s clothing and direction of travel.  Responding officers located a male matching the description and detained him.  The citizen was able to positively identify the suspect’s bike and clothing. In addition, items stolen from the vehicle were in his possession. During a subsequent interview Branden admitted to forcing entry into the vehicle.

Through great teamwork by officers and detectives out of our Superstition Patrol District and the Forensic Lab, Branden Mahlum was booked last night on 4 counts of vehicle burglary, a class 4 felony.   That’s right…FOUR counts.  Based on DNA evidence, investigators were able to link Branden to three additional vehicle burglaries in our city.  Great job by our alert citizen and our tenacious investigators for apprehending a burglar who had been victimizing our citizens!  Remember, If you see something, say something.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Do You Know These Jewelry Thieves?

On April 5 at 8:10 pm, two Black male suspects entered the K-Mart, located at 1455 S. Power Road, and proceeded to the jewelry counter. The males looked into the display case and pointed to several items of jewelry. One of the males then exited the store while talking on a cell phone. The second male called the jewelry clerk over and had her show him some rings. While the display case was unlocked, the male removed a "small silver-colored" handgun and showed it to the clerk. The suspect then handed her a backpack and instructed her to start putting jewelry in it. After she put numerous items in the backpack, the male requested the bag back and fled out the main entrance.

Suspect 1 is described as a Black male, early 20s, 5'7" to 5'9" tall, 140-160 lbs., short black hair, stubble along chin line. Last seen wearing a black and white NY Yankees baseball hat, black hooded sweatshirt with white shirt underneath, dark jeans, white shoes, carrying a royal blue backpack.

Suspect 2 is described as a Black male, early 20s, 5'8" to 5'10" tall, 140-160 lbs., short black hair. Last seen wearing a dark colored baseball hat, a royal blue sweatshirt with the hood on, dark jeans or cargo pants and white shoes.

Please submit any information regarding the crime or identity of the suspect(s) through the “Submit a Tip” option at www.CrimeReports.com or text information to 274-637 (CRIMES). Begin your message with MESAPD. You can also call 480-644-2211 and select option 2. Refer to report number 20140950598.

To Catch a Thief

On March 21 at 7:38 am in the East Valley, the pictured suspect stole a blue Mongoose bicycle from a residence and rode away. A security guard was able to detain the suspect briefly, who returned the bicycle, but then fled on foot prior to PD arrival. He claimed to be visiting friends in the area. We are asking the public's help to identify the pictured suspect.

The suspect is described as a middle-aged white male, 6' tall, thin build with long light brown or blond hair and receding hairline.

Please submit any information regarding the crime or identity of the suspect(s) through the “Submit a Tip” option at www.CrimeReports.com or text information to 274-637 (CRIMES). Begin your message with MESAPD. You can also call 480-644-2211 and select option 2. Refer to report number 20140800141.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Attentive Neighbor Foils Burglary, Suspects Arrested!

On March 28 at 9:11am, officers responded to the 2700 block of South Sorrelle in reference to a suspicious vehicle. The reporting party, a neighbor who was leaving to go to work, stated that two men got out of the vehicle and were possibly attempting to break into nearby mail boxes. He wisely called 911 and described everything he witnessed to our dispatcher.

While responding to the call, officers observed a vehicle matching the description given backed into a driveway on South Joplin. A man matching the description given was seen placing items into the trunk of the vehicle. Upon seeing police, the subject ran into the home the vehicle was parked at. A security officer for the neighborhood arrived and advised our officer that two men were observed jumping the rear wall of the home.

A perimeter was set up and both suspects were eventually taken into custody without incident. The suspects, later identified as 22 year-old Treshon Marcellus and 18 year-old Anthony King, were positively identified by the arriving Mesa officer and the security officer. Homeowners arrived and confirmed that the residence had been burglarized and the vehicle in the driveway did not belong to them. Property from the residence was observed inside of the suspect vehicle and returned to the owner.  The suspects went to jail.

Were it not for the heads up actions by this neighbor, there is a realistic chance the suspects would have escaped with the property unnoticed.  Yet another outstanding example of citizens partnering with their police to stop crime. Remember, "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING." It could very well be the difference between a suspect in-custody and an unsolved crime.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

13th Annual Crisis Negotiations Conference

On October 28-31, 2013, the Mesa Police Department hosted the 13th Annual Crisis Negotiations Conference in Mesa, Az.  The conference was attended by more than 260 negotiators from around the country and Canada.

One of the critical functions of a law enforcement agency is dealing with citizens in times of crisis.  The men and women assigned to the negotiations teams around the country respond to these events with the sole purpose of diffusing the situation and getting help to those who need it most!

Attendees in seminar session

Networking with fellow negotiators

A critical element of any conference of this size is the exchange of information.  Negotiation situations are very situation specific. However, across the regions and country, it seems that people find themselves in very similar situations. Being able to hear the successes and pitfalls directly from other negotiators who have been in similar situations is a huge asset when responding to crisis calls.

Presenters from around the country provide valuable information
The 14th Annual Crisis Negotiations conference is well into the planning stages for November 2014 in Scottsdale, Az. When this group next gets together, who knows the stories that will be told.

Attempt to Identify / Theft of Credit Card

The female subject pictured here used a debit card, that was stolen during a vehicle burglary in Scottsdale, at a Chevron (1205 W. Baseline Road) to purchase beer and food on March 14 at 8:37 am. 

If you can identify the woman or the man with her or have any information regarding this crime, please use the “Submit a Tip” option at www.CrimeReports.com or text information to 274-637 (CRIMES). Begin your message with MESAPD. You can also call 480-644-2211 and select option 2. Refer to report number 20140730288.