Suspect who robbed police chief arrested after pursuitPosted: Updated:
UPDATE on 8/6: The two defendants in this cast have been indicted on charges related to the theft of the Surprise police chief's badge, uniform, gun and unmarked police SUV. Kevin Kern, 30, and Edgar Vargas, 18, are alleged to have stolen the property from a Mountainside Fitness location in Surprise.
The August 4 indictment contains three counts of Burglary in the 3rd Degree, class four felonies, one count of Theft, a class six felony, one count of Theft, a class five felony, two counts of Theft of a Credit Card, class five felonies, two counts of Theft of Means of Transportation, class three felonies, and one count of Forgery of Credit Card, a class four felony.
ORIGINAL REPORT: SURPRISE -- Police in Surprise say they've recovered a sports utility vehicle stolen from police chief Dan Hughes, but not his badge and gun.
Surprise police arrested a man they say is a serial burglar. The man is also suspected of being responsible for stealing the Surprise Police Chief's badge, pistol, and SUV 2 weeks ago.
Police caught up with the suspect near 28th street and McDowell. The suspect then broke into a house and barricaded himself inside.
After 4 hours police say the suspect then lit the house on fire by breaking a natural gas line and ran out the back. After a short pursuit police captured the suspect.
The Department of Public Safety identified the suspect as 30 year-old Kevin M. Kern. They say that the suspect lit the house on fire after noticing that the police had sent in a robot to find out where in the house the suspect was located.
While the suspect is in custody the police chief's gun and badge are still missing.
Police spokesman Randy Rody says police chief Hughes was working out at a gym when someone broke in to his locker and stole his wallet, badge, keys and uniform. Then they drove off in his unmarked police SUV.
The vehicle was recovered later in the night.
The fire did extensive damage to the house.
"This suspect showed total disregard for the property of everyone including the property owner whose house he set on fire as he made his escape," said Lt. James Warriner of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.