Detectives arrest four related to a series of burglaries

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azfamily.com

COTTONWOOD - The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department:

Hard work by Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Detectives, assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section, has paid off with the arrest of 4 suspects responsible for numerous burglaries and thefts primarily in the Camp Verde, Rimrock and Cottonwood areas. These crimes occurred over a 4 month period beginning late last year and into the early 2008.

The investigation resulted in the arrests of Camp Verde residents James Dugan, 41, Maryaka Moore, 30, and two Phoenix residents, Daniel Smith, 35, and Jason Heifner, 29. The two primary suspects, Dugan and Moore, were sentenced last month with Dugan receiving an 11 year prison term and Moore sustaining a 7 year prison conviction. Both Dugan and Moore had served prior prison time for theft related convictions. Earlier this year, Smith received an 18 month prison term and Heifner was sentence to 3 ½ years for their involvement in some of the burglaries. The total restitution / loss for all victims has been set at $118, 000 dollars.

The investigation began during follow-up from a burglary on Quail Hollow Road in Rimrock, when detectives discovered that stolen credit cards had been used by suspects as various stores in Phoenix and Camp Verde. Detectives recovered video surveillance from some of the stores depicting suspects using the stolen credit cards. After a meeting with detectives from the Cottonwood Police Department, investigators identified Moore as a potential suspect along with a suspect vehicle registered in her name. Additionally, a cell phone had been recovered from the driveway of one of the burglary victims which was identified as belonging to Dugan. Detectives then discovered Dugan lived with Moore in the 700 block of Finnie Flats Road in Camp Verde. Detectives matched prior mug photos of Dugan and Moore to the suspects in security video footage who were using stolen credit cards. Their vehicle was also seen in video footage at a Wendy's restaurant where a stolen credit card was used to purchase food.

A surveillance operation was conducted on the Finnie Flats Road location and resulted in the identification of stolen property stored near the residence. In January, Dugan and Moore were arrested and a search warrant was issued for the residence. Stolen property was found in both the suspect vehicle and residence. Over the next several weeks, detectives linked the pair to at least 27 burglaries and 2 theft incidents. The arrests cleared numerous cases in the Sheriff's Office, Camp Verde Marshall's Office, Cottonwood Police Department and Prescott Valley Police Department.

The investigation also led to the involvement of Smith and Heifner who assisted Dugan and Moore in some of the burglaries during visits to the area from Phoenix.

The suspects' main method of operation in burglarizing homes was to find places with landscape and structural concealment. After a front door knock to confirm no one was home, the suspects used a large screwdriver to pry open a front or back door. The suspects would usually only steal items they could fit in a pillow case and would leave the area in a car parked nearby. The suspects browsed neighborhoods looking for potential targets and usually had a good sense of picking homes that were unoccupied. The suspects generally did not bother homes with alarms.

Attempts to link and return the recovered stolen property to victims is in process. Victims were also allowed to provide statements in the sentencing phase of the case which the court took into account when final prison terms were handed down.