Dead man helps PD find clown masked robber

Posted at 8:30 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 22:30:15-05

With help from a homicide victim and good witness descriptions, Phoenix police were able to solve a complicated series of armed robberies where masks, hammers and a white work truck were used.

Court documents show on Jan. 10, two men stole $13,000 from a Safeway store near 35th and Northern avenues. Witnesses say the men were armed with guns and a hammer. They also described one of the suspects as a man in his 50s with a white goatee who got away in a pickup work truck with a camper shell and amber lights on top of it. 

While looking into other armed robberies that matched the physical description of one of the men and the truck, detectives found three other armed robberies with the same description.

In May of last year, a thief used a clown mask to disguise himself while robbing a Netclicks near 35th Avenue and Dunlap Road. Police allege his partner, Frederick Leibrant, blocked several people from leaving the building during their escape.

During the investigation, police discovered Leibrant had been killed over a dispute with several people over stolen property, but he left behind a clue behind for police. 

Leibrant had filed a police report sometime before his death, naming 56-year-old Dennis Ray Anderson as the person who stole from him. Leibrant's detailed description of his partner in crime and his work truck matched the suspect from the armed robberies police were investigating.

Another robbery gave police the break they were looking for. A man wearing a wolf mask, carrying a hammer and driving a white work truck robbed a pawn shop. An anonymous tip led them to Anderson's girlfriend.

On Feb. 2, police tracked Anderson's girlfriend to Desert Diamond Casino near 91st and Northern avenues where she was seen talking to her boyfriend. That's when police moved in and took Anderson into custody.

Anderson is being charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

Police also arrested a second man, accused of being Anderson's partner in the January 10 Safeway robbery. Gary Collins faces charges of trafficking stolen property, weapons and probation violations.