Suspects in $170,000 theft arrested after spending spree

Posted: Updated:
azfamily.com

The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

MAYER, Ariz. -- On July 23, 2008, a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputy responded to a reported burglary from a residence on Cholla Drive in Mayer, Arizona. The victim recently returned from a vacation and noticed that someone forced entry into his file cabinet and stole approximately $170,000 in cash. The victim was unsure who committed the theft.

On July 27, 2008, the victim's wife contacted YCSO to report that a nephew, 19-year-old Leobardo Celaya from Spring Valley, Arizona, was seen on several occasions by family members wearing new clothes and expensive shoes. This seemed unusual since Leobardo does not work and has no source of income. The victim confronted Leobardo about the theft of his money, and Leobardo denied any involvement. A few days later, the victim learned that Leobardo had recently purchased a brand new motorcycle and was spending time in a north Phoenix hotel. Family members also learned from Leobardo's girlfriend that he was carrying around a backpack containing $85,000 in cash. Deputies also discovered that one of Leobardo's friends, 20-year-old Mayer resident Travis Weise, might have information about the cash Leobardo carried.

Follow-up by the investigating deputy revealed that Leobardo and Travis had recently registered two brand new motorcycles in their name. Deputies were able to trace the motorcycle identification information to a Cave Creek Road motorcycle shop. The owner of the shop confirmed that Leobardo has purchased two 2008 Honda motorcycles, each costing $14,000, which were paid in full by cash. Deputies contacted Travis and he denied ownership of a new motorcycle. When confronted with a motorcycle sales contract and registration paperwork, Travis admitted to involvement in theft of cash from the victim's home.

The investigation has since revealed that Leobardo and Travis burglarized the victim's home on two occasions. On or about the 19th of July, they entered the home and stole about $70, 000 dollars. On or about the 20th of July, they came back and took the remaining $100,000 dollars. During the second burglary, two other friends were now involved. They were identified as 21-year-old Trent Leavitt and 20-year-old Katie Buttler, both from Phoenix.

Following the second burglary, the foursome drove to Phoenix and spent several days in a hotel. They partied and went to area strip clubs, bought clothes, shoes, electronics, alcohol, etc. The motorcycles were also purchased during this time frame.

Deputies have since recovered a substantial amount of the stolen money and are still in the process of locating additional property purchased with the stolen cash. Leobardo and Travis had hidden the motorcycles and some of the stolen cash at a residence in Black Canyon City. Deputies have since recovered the motorcycles and cash from this location. Also, while attending a Phoenix strip club show, a car belonging to one of the suspect's was burglarized. A security guard at the club called the Phoenix Police which compelled the suspect's to file a theft report documenting the loss of a portion of the victim's money.

Deputies arrested and booked Leobardo Celaya and Travis Wiese at the Prescott Detention Center on July 29. Charges include Burglary and Felony Theft.

On July 30, 2008, YCSO Detectives arrested Trent Leavitt and Katie Buttler in Phoenix for Burglary and Theft. They were both booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center.

The victim has since commended the work of YCSO deputies and detectives from the Eastern Investigations Section for their work in this case.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office with information or questions at (928) 771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov