PHOENIX - Phoenix police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for burglarizing several police vehicles and taking an AR-15 rifle and Taser, among other items.
A police spokesperson said between Jan. 18 and Feb. 2, police vehicles were broken into at two precinct substations in the Valley. Gear stolen from the cars included an AR-15 rifle, a Glock handgun, a Taser, and two large canisters of pepper spray.
The suspect, 41-year-old Branden Alexander Tucker, reportedly left behind fingerprints that, police say, link him to the burglaries.
The vehicles were burglarized in two separate incidents at the South Mountain Precinct Substation near 24th Street and Broadway Road, and another incident at the Central City Precinct near 16th Street and Buckeye Road.
Police located Tucker on March 1 at his home near 16th Street and Baseline Road, where they found many of the stolen items inside his garage. Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis said "some ammunition was recovered, but the weapons remain outstanding as this investigation continues."
The total value of the items stolen was over $6,500.
Police say Tucker reportedly told them that he bought the gear for $200.
He also allegedly admitted to being a methamphetamine user and was found to be in possession of drugs when he was arrested at his home.
Retired Peoria Police Officer Lon Bartel says, though it’s rare police are targets, he has seen several burglaries on police property over the years.
“There have been instances of police depots, lockers, storage facilities, that have been broken into throughout at least in my 20 year career,” said Bartel. “Police vehicles, specialty response vehicles, they do have specialized gear and equipment so they're not uncommon for them to be targeted."
Tucker has been charged with 13 counts of burglary, criminal trespassing, and drug possession.