When Carol Waggener walked over to the QuickTrip off Power and Guadalupe over the weekend, a bulky black object caught her eye.
"I thought it was a bike lock," she said. It turns out, it's an ankle monitor, one law enforcement officers place on men or women charged with a crime.
The specific device called an ExacuTrack, built by BI Incorporated in Colorado, is said to be "tamper- resistant," according to the company's website. But Waggener found the straps wide open, and discovered what she says looked like a lock when she returned to show ABC15 where she spotted the bracelet.
"Whoever had it is gone now," she fears. Waggener says she called the 1-800 number listed on the device but got a recording from the company who makes them. So she turned to law enforcement, calling the Mesa police non-emergency number. She was told there, too, to send it back to BI Incorporated, but wasn't asked for any information about the device and was told the department could not take it.
"Where'd they go? Are they dangerous?" Waggener asked of the person who took it off. Police couldn't answer those questions.
ABC15 reached out to the Adult Probation Department for Maricopa County Superior Court, who explained different agencies all use these same monitors, and technology, at the local, state and federal levels. They're still looking into whether or not the device was issued to a Valley offender, but say if so, they could face additional felony charges for tampering and removing the device.
The monitors are supervised by the appropriate probation office, who would receive an alert if there was any "irregular activity," including lack of movement, loss of signal, tampering or removal.
Deputy Administrator Michael Cimino explained there are two types of people who may be issued an ankle monitor: accused offenders awaiting trial or pending criminal charges, and convicted criminals sentenced to probation. Camino says they have on average 2,800 defendants on "pre-trial" release under their supervision at any given time, but only about 800 on electronic monitoring.
The offenders on probation are typically sex offenders, according to Cimino. Maricopa County has an average of 25,000 people on probation, but only 160 equipped with an ankle bracelet.
"In both of these populations, probation officers receive alerts in real time and take proactive steps to respond to these alerts," Cimino said.
Cimino said if this GPS was strapped to a county offender he has a "high degree of confidence in the tools available... to issue a warrant for the subject,"
Cimino is still looking to confirm which agency may have issued the monitor, and find out more about who was wearing it.
The manufacturer, BI Incorporated says they only provide the equipment, and contract the GPS monitors to different agencies, who then issue it to accused criminals, and are in charge of monitoring each device.