Arrest made in 2013 robbery of man left stranded in the desert

James Price

James Price

YAVAPAI COUNTY -- Last month, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office made an arrest in the case of a Chandler man who was robbed and left nearly naked in the desert.

Back on Oct. 4, 2013, around 2 in the morning, YCSO deputies were dispatched to the Verde Valley Medical Center to interview a 54-year-old man reporting a robbery incident. The victim told deputies that on the previous day he met a woman in a casino in Chandler. The victim admitted he was not discreet with his money, which likely attracted the woman. He told her about needing a ride to Prescott Valley from his home near the casino and offered the woman gas money if she could help him. She said she needed to check with her "driver" friend and would call him and he gave his cell number.

Around 9 that night, the victim arranged the ride and was picked up near his home by the woman and a man she knew. They made stops for food and then went to a different casino in Chandler. The victim and woman went inside while her friend stayed in the truck. The two returned a short time later and the woman's friend drove them north on Interstate 17.

The driver eventually turned off the interstate onto Orme School Road, claiming he need to use the restroom. After the truck stopped, the driver got out, opened the victim's door, and placed a gun to the victim's head. The victim was ordered to get out the truck and was struck on the head and knocked to the ground. The victim was then told to undress except for socks and underwear. The suspect removed more than $1,000 from the victim's pants. The victim was then told to walk away. As the truck sped away driven by the suspect with his female companion passenger, the victim heard a gunshot but was not struck. All of the victim's clothing, cash, and personal items had been stolen.

The victim walked to I-17 and after more than an hour, was able to get a ride to the hospital.

Over the next several weeks, detectives conducted a comprehensive investigation to identify a suspect, including recovering evidence from the robbery location, reviewing surveillance videos from casinos and businesses, tracing credit card, cell phone and vehicle records, and conducting multiple interviews.

Resulting evidence identified the suspect as 43-year-old James Price. A statewide search began and continued until Price was located on Feb. 25 where he worked in Flagstaff. Price was arrested and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery, and weapons misconduct. Price remains in custody on a $100,000 bond.

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