Valley man frustrated with Phoenix PD over case

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 22:48:26-05

Steven Hess isn’t pleased with Phoenix Police.

It’s been almost a year since a ring of thieves created several fake checks and stole thousands from his bank account.

Even though police have surveillance video of the suspects and their names, no arrests have been made.

“I think I could have put a case together and gotten a conviction on the case based on the evidence that I have still,” Hess said.

In late April and early May, three men cashed five checks that stole nearly $5,000 from Hess.

But the checks cashed by the suspects weren’t stolen. They were created. And nearly all of the information on the fake checks was wrong except for Hess’ name and account number.

Hess showed ABC15 copies of the fake checks and bank surveillance video showing the faces of the suspects making the fraudulent transactions.

One check also shows it was deposited into one of the suspect’s bank account.

With that information, Hess can’t understand why more hasn’t been done with his case.

“When there’s this much evidence, when (the suspects) are not even brought in to have to explain their deeds, it’s ridiculous to me,” Hess said.

A letter sent to Hess in November only added to his frustration.

It said his case was being “pended with no further investigation,” for two reasons: (1) No information was available to positively identify the suspect; (2) No surveillance video would still be available.

The evidence provided by Hess appears to directly contradict what was written in the letter.

“I was appalled,” Hess said. “I was angry and appalled.”

Phoenix Police said the letter was sent by mistake.

“In this case, it appears as though someone reviewing the case queued the letter in error.  It was not the investigative detective,” according to a department spokesman. “The case is open and active.”

But after nearly a year, Hess said he doesn’t understand what’s taking so long.

Hess checked in monthly with the detective after it was reported. The detective responded telling him it was still under investigation, emails show.

ABC15 spoke with several law enforcement sources, including detectives and a former prosecutor. They all said there appeared to be enough evidence to constitute probable cause and make an arrest.

But Phoenix Police have struggled to maintain adequate staffing levels for years.

Some detectives are now working shifts on patrol as the department tries to keep enough officers on the street answering calls.

ABC15 has requested statistics about the number of cases received, investigated, and solved by the Phoenix Police Document Crimes Detail. Those numbers were not immediately available.

Have you received a letter like the one above?  Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at