Teen police volunteer helps catch burglary suspects

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Gerardo Ramirez, Jason Wortman By Mike Gertzman Gerardo Ramirez, Jason Wortman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A 17-year-old Glendale Police Explorer is credited with helping detectives arrest two men suspected of burglarizing vehicles in church parking lots.

After attending church on Sunday, Nov. 3, a couple discovered their car was burglarized in the parking lot and their garage door opener and registration paperwork containing their home address were stolen. The Glendale church was located in the area of 17200 N. 59th Avenue.

The couple’s 17-year-old daughter, Rebecca, is a Glendale Police Explorer.

Rebecca, who is keeping her last name private, was home alone at the time. The suspects, Gerardo Ramirez and Jason Wortman, parked in the driveway and opened the garage door with the stolen opener.

Ramirez knocked on the door and rang the doorbell to see if anyone was home, and both men fled when they heard a TV on inside.

The Glendale Police Explorer saw the license plate numbers before the car drove off.  She gave police the information and they began surveillance of the car on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Through the surveillance, police were able to see Ramirez and Wortman driving around several church parking lots in Sun City. On the morning of Nov. 17, a detective witnessed Ramirez break into a vehicle parked in a church parking lot near 9500 West Hutton Drive.

MCSO, with assistance from Glendale Police, arrested both suspects.

Wortman admitted he and Ramirez were about to burglarize the home of the vehicle’s owner when they were arrested, police said. After searching the vehicle, police found evidence connecting Wortman and Ramirez to several other vehicle burglaries in church parking lots.

Both men have been charged with vehicle burglary and attempted residential burglary. Ramirez is still in custody with no bond probation hold, and Wortman remains in custody with a $3,600 bond.

The Explorer program is for people ages 14 to 20 who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

For more information about the Glendale Police Explorer program, click here.