Sat, March 28

Police legwork leads to home invasion arrest

Kenneth Birchett

Kenneth Birchett

COTTONWOOD -- A Cottonwood man has been arrested and charged with crimes related to an attempted home invasion robbery last July in the Village of Oak Creek. The Yavapai Sheriff's office credits exhaustive work by deputies and detectives and forensic work to identify and arrest a suspect in the case.

Kenneth Birchett, 48, of Cottonwood is now jailed and held on $200,000 bond.

It all started the morning of July 25 when Birchett entered a couple's Apache Drive home while a 64-year-old woman's husband was on a morning walk. Birchett assaulted the woman with a stun gun, bound her with duct tape, and demanded money.

When the 67-year-old husband returned, the suspect struggled with the man and struck him in the head with a handgun. The intruder fired the gun, but no one was hit

The woman was able to escape to a neighbor's house where she called for help, as the suspect fled.

Investigators posted a sketch of the suspect and a $5,000 reward for information, but it was investigators legwork that identified the Birchett.

Investigators searching the surrounding area, found a plastic bucket in an area with a clear view of the victim's house.

A fingerprint from the bucket and DNA lifted from the victims home led police to the man with North Dakota ties, but a Cottonwood residence.

Kenneth Birchett was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.

He had reportedly identified victims during casino visits.

$1,000 offered

in arson investigations

COTTONWOOD -- Cottonwood Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the person or persons responsible for repeated arson fires throughout Cottonwood. Since July of 2011, there have been 18 fires that have been intentionally set ablaze, primarily at dumpsters and recycling bins. Authorities estimated the damage has reached about $18,000. In addition, there is the obvious safety concerns posed for citizens, first responders and the surrounding property. Locations have been behind commercial businesses, in recycling centers and two have been set in open-field areas.

"We are asking for the public's help in being vigilant in locating any suspicious person near or around these locations," said Cottonwood Police Department spokesman, Sergeant Gareth Braxton.

"We would prefer to investigate any mistaken leads rather than to respond to a tragedy. We hope someone is aware of this person or that the public will help us identifying those responsible,"

Certainly if anyone knows who is responsible for these crimes they are asked to contact the Cottonwood Police Department directly. Yavapai County Silent Witness may also pay up to $1,000 if you desire to remain anonymous.

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