Chandler police nab suspected spare tire thief

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Angel Pat Ortiz By Jennifer Thomas Angel Pat Ortiz By Jennifer Thomas

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Chandler police have arrested a suspect in a string of spare tire thefts in the East Valley.

Angel Pat Ortiz, 39, was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on two counts of trafficking in stolen property and one count of theft.

Investigators believe Ortiz was involved in approximately 30 thefts in Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert since February. In each of the reported cases, the spare tire was mounted on the vehicle's exterior.

Detective Seth Tyler said although Ortiz seemed to favor the Jeep Liberty, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV, he targeted any vehicle with an exterior spare tire.

In all of the incidents, Ortiz chose a vehicle that did not have a locking lug nut or other anti-theft device on the tire.

Police detectives believe there are additional victims who have not yet come forward.

If you have been the victim of a similar theft and did not report it to the police, call 480-782-4130.