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PCSO: Man who committed 25 car thefts arrested

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Posted at 11:10 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 13:10:02-05

An 18-year-old man who committed 25 car thefts, several burglaries and credit card fraud was arrested by Pinal County deputies on Monday. 

A deputy near Hunt Highway and Bella Vista Road saw a white Chevrolet sedan driven by a man, which deputies had been told about an hour before that the same type of vehicle had been stolen from a neighborhood. The deputy then confirmed the plate on the white Chevrolet sedan matched one that was stolen earlier on Monday. 

The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, but Rojelio Armenta, of San Tan Valley, sped away into a residential neighborhood. A second deputy then located the vehicle, which was abandoned nearby. 

Armenta was then seen running through yards and jumping walls, until he was captured near Hunt Highway and Paso Fino Trail after deputies chased Armenta on foot for 15 minutes and also spotted him via a police chopper. 

Deputies found stolen wallets and credit cards in the abandoned vehicle that Armenta was driving. 

Once interviewed by Pinal County Sheriff deputies, Armenta admitted he was behind a spree of crimes that occurred over the past several weeks. He told deputies he had stolen 25 cars, six of which were stolen in Pinal County. He also said he was behind an armed robbery outside of a home on November 28th, as well as committing other burglaries and thefts in Gilbert, San Tan Valley and Maricopa County. 

Once in jail, Armenta was found to be hiding 2.1 grams of heroin between his toes. 

The man faces, so far, six counts of vehicle theft, three counts of burglary, two counts of credit card fraud, as well as endangerment, felony flight, possession of narcotics, armed robbery and promotion of prison contraband charges. 

PCSO does expect to file additional charges soon.