PHOENIX - Police reports show the man charged with killing a well-known Paradise Valley couple and a Phoenix cigar salesman searched for wealthy victims to rob on the Internet.
The 300 pages of reports obtained by The Arizona Republic Friday afternoon under a public records request show co-defendants of Michael Lee Crane and others told detectives that he looked for people and homes to burglarize, sometimes with their help.
Crane, 31, is charged with the Jan. 30 murders of Glenna and Lawrence Shapiro and the Jan. 25 slaying of Bruce Gaudet. All three victims were murdered and robbed and their homes were set on fire.
Five other people are being held for their alleged roles in the Shapiro murders, including Brittany Ann Beinhauer, 27, of Phoenix; Kelly Ann Steward, 29, of Glendale; Shawn Eric Nicloy, 29, of Phoenix; Danielle Elaine Rossman, 26, of Phoenix; and Katherine Adele Austin, 26, of Phoenix.
Maricela Sanchez, 27, of Phoenix, is facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery and a theft as means of transportation in Gaudet's death.
According to a March 13 search warrant, Paradise Valley investigators collected two laptop computers from the Mesa home of Crane's brother, where Crane kept a bedroom and where he was arrested Feb. 2.
According to interviews with "co-defendants of Michael Crane, and from other persons not arrested in this case, Michael Crane used a laptop computer and the Internet, sometimes with the assistance of co-defendants, to research persons and locations in the Phoenix metropolitan area for the purposes of selecting targets for burglary and/or theft," the police documents state.
Crane also faces charges of arson and kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Shapiros, both in their late 70s, were found in their burning home with their wrists and feet bound with television cables, speaker wire and a heating-pad cord. Both had been shot in the head. The couple were found on the bed of the master bedroom with their ankles bound together, the police report said.
According to the new documents, the fire in the master bedroom was ignited on the body of Glenna, who had already died. Lawrence died of smoke inhalation.
Nicloy told police that Rossman told him Crane arrived at Rossman's northeast Phoenix home in a Jaguar the morning of the Shapiro murders, according to the reports. She also said Rossman delivered a gas can to Crane the morning of the Shapiro murders and provided him with transportation.
The Shapiros' Jaguar XK8 convertible was found burning in a north Phoenix shopping center near Seventh Street and Union Hills Drive later the same morning.
Nicloy also said that "Crane left four large suitcases at Rossman's home," which they stored in an above-ground spa with a cover.
"Crane placed several laptop-type briefcases in a room at the Rossman residence as well as bright- orange-and-tan tackle box containing unknown medications and syringes and had the name Shapiro written on the top in permanent marker," the report states. He also pinned a gold shield-shaped brooch to Rossman's car.
Rossman told police that she sold for $100 a gold ring with a center pearl surrounded with diamonds to the owner of Gold Spot jewelry store, the report said. Rossman became afraid when she learned of the Shapiro murders and took the suitcases filled with paperwork bearing the Shapiro name to Nicloy and Austin. Police later recovered them dumped in the desert near New River.
Coins, watches and bracelets were found in the Rossman guest house in the backyard, officials said. Police also said Steward received jewelry items, including an amethyst pendant, from Crane, which Steward gave to her mother a few days later.
The Shapiros' daughter specifically asked about the pendant because she said, "My mom bought that for my grandma, and when my grandma passed away, my mom got the pendant back," the report said.
Steward's mother retrieved the clear-and-purple stone pendant when detectives asked about it and said, "I do not want it in my house."
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