Career criminal leads police on chase after crime spree

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azfamily.com

GOODYEAR -- Stolen vehicles, burglaries, assault and a police chase were all part of an hours-long crime spree that came to an end in West Valley neighborhood early Tuesday morning.

Suspect reportedly kept apologizing

Investigators are still trying to piece everything together at 155th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.

The suspect, who has been identified as Richard Valencia, 27, is in custody after getting into a scuffle with the owner of a home he allegedly tried to break into.

The crime spree reportedly went on for hours left at least 10 victims in its wake.

It all started at about 3 a.m. when a Goodyear officer tried to stop a pickup truck in the area of 155th Avenue and Hilton.

The driver took off and busted through a wall or fence to try and get away. Police got the license plate number of the truck and suspended their pursuit.

Another officer followed the evidence -- stolen items that had fallen from the vehicle -- and came upon the truck a short time later. It had been ditched in the area of 155th Lane and Lower Buckeye Road after almost crashing into a house.

When officers took a look at the truck, they uncovered another crime -- tactical gear apparently stolen from a corrections officer.

"An officer responded to that scene and started processing that for evidence and realized that there were several items in there that were possibly stolen, including police officer body armor, a duty belt, a police officer jacket, and other items we later determined were stolen," said Sgt. Jeff Rogers of the Goodyear Police Department.

A short time later, police got a call that a suspect had busted through the front window of a nearby home and gotten into a fight with the homeowner.

Officers rushed to the house and were able to take Valencia into custody.

The homeowner is OK.

As the morning went on, they received additional calls from several other residents who said the suspect allegedly tried to break into their homes.

Valencia was taken to the hospital and treated for lacerations sustained when he allegedly jumped through that window.

Police said he would be taken to jail and booked once he's released.

Police say Valencia is a career criminal with an extensive rap sheet who is currently on probation.