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State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 13852)

FELONY BURGLARY NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 13852) (Mesa Police Department DR No. 2013-12800119): Mr. G was a 21-year-old male who was accused of committing Burglary of a Retail Establishment in Mesa, Arizona per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1507 . The alleged Burglary occurred around midnight. There were two eyewitnesses who were working in the area who heard a loud crash and saw a small red pickup truck backed up to the retail establishment. They saw an individual coming out loading product into the small red pickup truck and then driving away. He also saw another individual assisting with the crime. The estimated value of the product stolen was approximately $3500. While the scene was being processed, the two eyewitnesses returned to the scene and advised Officers that they had located what they believed to be the same small red pickup a short distance away in a parking lot. The police immediately went to the location and conducted a search of the small red pickup. In the small red pickup they found the stolen items from the retail establishment.

Police officers then located eyewitnesses in the area who indicated that shortly after the time of the Burglary, they saw a white male with a red pickup truck. The white male asked for assistance pushing the pickup truck into the parking lot as it had run out of gas. They assisted the white male and indicated they could identify him again. Police investigated the vehicle and found that the vehicle was associated with a recent former employee of the retail establishment.

Police immediately went to the residence of the former employee (Mr. G). They questioned the former employee who indicated that he was the only one who had keys to the vehicle and he and that he had not loaned vehicle to anyone else. Under repeated questioning that story changed multiple times. The former employee was taken into custody and a one on one identification was conducted, the witness was not able to positively identify the former employee.

Another complicating factor was that according to the staff of the retail establishment, the Theft of  the  items included the  use  of  a  key  to unlock the  items inside  the  establishment. According to the staff, only employees of the establishment would know where to locate the keys. Investigators also located a large rock that had been used to break a plate glass window to get into the establishment. Numerous latent fingerprints were collected including one print from the rock. Mr. G was released but was requested to come in for additional questioning by Detectives.

At that point in time Mr. G retained our services.  We immediately instructed the client on how to invoke his Right to Counsel and Right to Remain Silent. We immediately made contact with the investigating Detective and advised our client would not be making a further statement at this time. We then obtained a copy of the police report as soon as it was available. We also immediately sent written notification to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that our client wished to be present and testify to the grand jury should they request that, pursuant to Trebus v. Davis.

Once we obtained the initial draft of the police report, we reviewed it and identified specific issues for the police. We then wrote a letter to the investigating Detective pointing out specific issues and weaknesses with their case in a letter drafted pursuant to Trebus, Bashir, and their progeny.

We continued to maintain contact with the investigating Detective over the next several months. As part of the ongoing investigation the Detective obtained a court order for our client’s fingerprints. We accompanied the client to provide a full set of fingerprints to the officer. The subsequent analysis of the fingerprints was very beneficial as the prints did not match Mr. G. The last 2 entries of the narrative in the police report from the investigating Detective specifically reference our contact with the Detective and includes the statement that the Detective was “inactivating the case.”

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