Monday, April 28, 2014

K-9 Jake recovering after a busy weekend

K-9 Jake was involved in police situation over the weekend.  During the altercation with a suspect, he received several cuts to his head.  He is expected to make a full recovery.  Here is a little bio on Jake.

Jake is an 80 pound Belgian Malinois. He was born on March 17, 2005 in the country of Slovokia. He has been working the streets of Mesa, since April 2008.

Jake is a dual-purpose police dog, trained for patrol and narcotics detection. As a patrol dog, Jake is trained for building searches, area searches, high-risk traffic stops, suspect apprehension, handler protection, and SWAT deployments. As a narcotics detection dog, Jake is trained to locate cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. Jake is currently certified by the National Police Canine Association for patrol and narcotics detection. 

Jake is well known for his split personality. He is extremely social and very friendly while not working; but as soon as he gets into his police car, Jake is all business. 

During his time off, Jake enjoys playing Frisbee, swimming in the pool, and spending time with his family

Queensland, Australia Police Services Commissioner talks with me about Social Media's impact on LE

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Officer Involved Shooting @ Residence in the 1100 Block of East 5thAvenue

On April 26th, shortly after 7 pm, Mesa patrol officers responded to a residence in the 1100 block of East 5th Avenue reference an in-progress residential burglary.  A neighbor, and friend to the out of town homeowner, called to report an unknown subject inside the residence.  He initially confronted the subject who responded by pointing a gun at him.  This victim then called police and our officers were on-scene within minutes and set up a perimeter on the residence.  The out of town homeowner (victim) confirmed to our officers (via telephone) that no one should be at the residence.

The suspect came out several times and on each occurrence would ignore the officers verbal commands.  Due to the information about a gun, the officers maintained a safe distance, but ended up firing several "bean bag" rounds at the suspect, before ultimately sending our K9 "Jake" after him. The suspect received a bite, but dragged K9 Jake into the residence where it is believed he stabbed Jake multiple times, before releasing him out the front door.  Jake was scooped up by his handler and rushed to an emergency vet.

The suspect came out of the residence again, this time waving what appeared to be a handgun, when one of our officers fired at least one round at the suspect.  The suspect fell back into the residence, out of sight.  After a safe time period with no response from the residence, Mesa SWAT entered the residence and located the suspect deceased.  There appeared to be a handgun laying near the suspect.  At this point in the investigation, it is unclear if the suspect's injuries are from the officer or self inflicted.  As of this posting, investigators are on-scene trying to confirm these details.

The latest update on K9 Jake is that he is in surgery, but expected to survive his injuries.  

We have received numerous contacts from citizens via social media expressing concern for our officers, including K9 Jake.  These are the type of incidents every officer is trained for, but hopes never happens.  They are always scary for our officers and the community.  We are thankful no other officers or citizens were injured and sincerely appreciate the kind words from our community.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Death Investigation in Parking Lot of BJ's Brewery in Mesa

On 04/24/2014 @ approximately 9:07 pm @ BJ’s Brewery @ 6622 E. Superstition Springs BLVD in Mesa.  Mesa PD and Fire responded to the back parking lot of BJ’s Brewery reference a male subject non-breather.  The subject had some apparent injuries and was ultimately pronounced deceased at the scene.  At this point, it is unclear if these injuries are of a criminal origin or a result of medical issues/combined with a fall.  We are considering all possibilities as we proceed in the investigation.

The deceased individual has been identified as 50 year-old, William Criswell.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Media Release - Public Assistance Needed in Unsolved Homicide

The Mesa Police Department is seeking help from the public to identify a homicide victim and any potential suspect or suspects.

The victim was found deceased at approximately 5:45 am on March 27, 2014. He was found lying on the sidewalk next to a bicycle in the 200 block of South Barkley in Mesa with obvious signs of trauma. At this time, detectives have not been able to positively identify the victim. For investigative purpose, he can only be described as a Hispanic male.

Detectives are also working to identify any suspect or suspects in the case. Any information, large or small, could be valuable in identifying the victim or suspect/s. If anyone was in the area of the crime on March 27, 2014 in the early morning hours and saw any suspicious activity or persons, they are encouraged to call the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211, select option 2, or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Media Release - Death Investigation on East Ingram

On Monday, April 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm, Mesa Police officers responded to a residence in the 8300 block of East Ingram reference a 911 call. The adult male subject indicated he had just returned home from work to find his wife and daughter deceased in the residence. Mesa Fire and Medical responded and pronounced both females deceased at the scene. These individuals have been identified as:

Marcia Wentzel, 45 years old
Caitlin Wentzel, 12 years old

At this point in the investigation we have learned all three subjects lived at this residence. The mother and daughter had been suffering from debilitating, long term medical conditions and two suicide notes were located inside the residence. Only the Office of the Medical Examiner will be able to confirm the cause/manner of death, but the scene suggests possible asphyxiation and/or prescription drug overdose as contributing factors. The circumstances at this time suggest this is a murder/suicide situation. We have no one in custody and no information indicating anyone else is involved. This is an ongoing investigation and any new details will be released as appropriate. At this time the family has asked that their privacy be respected and do not wish to speak to the media.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crime Stats - April 2014

The following are the top 5 calls for service and arrests for each patrol district -- 04/01/2014 through 04/30/2014.

Call TypeFrequencyCall TypeFrequency
Subjects Disturbing408Subjects Disturbing453
Check Welfare339Check Welfare352
Other Agency Assist194Loud Music/Noise187
Loud Music/Noise166Other Agency Assist181
Suspicious Activity149Suspicious Activity181

Aggravated Assault15Aggravated Assault15
Breaking & Entering7Breaking & Entering10
Other Assaults35Other Assaults63
Disorderly Conduct12Disorderly Conduct27
Sex Offenses5Sex Offenses2
All Other
All Other251

Call TypeFrequencyCall TypeFrequency
Subjects Disturbing414Check Welfare320
Check Welfare373Other Agency Assist251
Other Agency Assist234Subjects Disturbing242
Suspicious Activity214Burglary Alarm224
Burglary Alarm213Suspicious Activity187

Aggravated Assault8Aggravated Assault7
Breaking & Entering8Breaking & Entering7
Other Assaults44Other Assaults30
Disorderly Conduct26Disorderly Conduct19
Sex Offenses2Sex Offenses1
Vandalism15 Vandalism15
All Other110 All Other67

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 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