Parolee accused of robbing cell phone stores

Posted at 11:50 AM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 21:56:33-04

A man released from prison on New Year's Eve may be responsible for as many as 15 armed robberies of cell phone stores Valley-wide. 

Police say a man's car and the words the suspect used during the robberies since March 20 link 39-year-old Francisco Valdez to the crimes.

Police report that on April 21, a man entered the Boost Mobile store near 30th Street and Bell Road and pointed a gun at the employee, demanding money. The victim told police the man was wearing clear plastic gloves and after getting $200, he left in a newer, white Nissan car.

Later that same day, police say he went to the Metro PCS store near 35th and Glendale avenues where he reportedly stole $400. After ordering the employees to the ground he took personal items from them and told them, "Don't do anything stupid because he now had their wallets with their driver's licenses and addresses." He again left in a newer, white car.

Police report that on April 29, a similar armed robbery happened at the Cricket wireless store near 19th and Northern avenues. He again forced employees to the ground and told them  "Don't do anything stupid because he now had their wallets with their driver's licenses and addresses."  This time he got $590 and left in the same car. 

The pattern reportedly continued on May 4 at Metro PCS near 17th Avenue and Bell Road. Also later that same day at the Metro PCS near 19th Avenue and Cactus Road. However, this time police say an armed business owner next door saw what happened and chased Valdez away.

Police received information that Francisco Valdez, who was on parole after doing 10 years in prison for armed robbery, may be responsible for the crimes. Police say they started watching Valdez and placed a GPS unit on his car. The car was found to be at two other robberies of the same type in Tempe and Mesa. Police say they also found personal items belonging to the victims in the recycling cans outside Valdez's home.

Valdez was arrested May 11 and charged with five counts of armed robbery and five counts of kidnapping.