Alleged 'rock burglar' arrested after 17 years and over 400 hits

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PHOENIX - A burglary suspect, who eluded authorities for over 17 years, has finally been arrested.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery held a press conference Friday to announce the arrest of the suspected "rock burglar."

Robert James Neese, 58, is thought to have been responsible for over 400 burglaries in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills and Cave Creek, dating back to 1993.


Neese garnered national attention for eluding capture for over 17 years after stealing as much as $10 million in jewelry and cash.

Neese became known as the "rock burglar" because he would throw a big rock through a living room or bedroom window to make entry into a home, where he would grab items easy to sell and disappear before police arrived.   Former Vice President Dan Quayle and former Diamondbacks stars Mark Grace and Steve Finley are reportedly among the burglar's victims.

Over the last three years, the MCSO had been focusing on Fountain Hills, where roughly 60 burglaries were reported.  Investigators say they set a 'trap' for their suspect, and he fell for it.   They believe DNA evidence will be key as the court process moves forward, linking Reese to many of the robberies.

Neese was taken into custody in Phoenix on Friday morning, interrogated, and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail.