RIMROCK - On Dec. 9, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Steven Elms and Juan Fuentes for burglary, credit card theft, identity theft, nine counts of credit card fraud and three counts of trafficking in stolen property.
In the last few days, a YCSO detective initiated an investigation into use of a stolen credit card taken during a theft from a Rimrock home. During follow-up contact with the 74-year-old victim, the detective learned that not only were cash and a credit card stolen, she discovered jewelry missing after filing the original report.
With assistance from the reporting patrol deputy, the detective contacted a local merchant where the stolen credit card had been used and reviewed surveillance video of a transaction showing two male suspects. When the victim was shown photographs of the suspects, she recognized them based on contact a few days prior.
Both suspects had been in her home soliciting a new business called Clean to Profection. She quickly identified Fuentes whom she also knew from prior contacts and recalled the second suspect had the first name "Steve."
The investigating detective went to a Flagstaff area Walmart where the stolen credit card was used on the evening of Dec. 6. During a review of security video, both suspects were seen entering the store with Elms purchasing a tablet computer on the victim's credit card.
About 20 minutes later, the suspects returned to Walmart and Fuentes filled a shopping cart with all kinds of camping supplies charged on the victim's card. In Flagstaff, the detective traced some of the victim's jewelry to a local business and confirmed that Fuentes had pawned those items. This property was recovered.
The detective also confirmed use of the stolen credit card at a gas station in Munds Park. At that location, the suspects were seen on surveillance video in a silver 1985 Chrysler New Yorker registered to Elms.
Additional investigation revealed additional stolen property was pawned in Prescott and Cottonwood. Those items were also recovered.
On Dec. 9, the detective was notified that the suspects were inside a Cottonwood area pawn shop. Both were eventually detained by YSOS deputies for the detective. During consent search of Elms' Chrysler vehicle, additional stolen property was recovered including stolen mail connected to multiple locations in the area.
Both Elms and Fuentes were arrested and charged as indicated and have since admitted to the activity as described. The suspects even indicated they entered the victim's home several times while she was away.
Preliminary loss estimated regarding the victim in Rimrock is nearly $2000.
Both Fuentes and Elms remain in custody: Fuentes on a $21,500 bond and Elms on a $20,000 bond.
Detectives are also looking into the involvement of these suspects in additional crimes. If anyone has information regarding Elms and Fuentes related to this case or other thefts, please contact Detective Swaim at (928) 567-7710. Refer to case number 14-043534.
The investigation into mail theft has been turned over to the US Post Office, Postal Inspection Service.
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