4 Juveniles in custody after crime spree, home invasion in West Phoenix; 1 on the loose

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Four people, apparently juveniles, are in police custody after a pair of early morning robberies that were part of a crime spree that might have started Monday night.

Police converged on the area of 92nd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard, which is east of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway and south of Thomas Road, early Tuesday morning.

According to Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department, the suspects are behind an "early morning crime spree that included a couple of robberies, and a home invasion."

Investigators actually believe the crime spree started Monday night with at least two street robberies.

"We've had two robberies this morning since about 4:45," Crump told 3TV's Heidi Goitia. "One was a home invasion where about four to five suspects got out of a van out front and forced entry into a home."

Crump said the suspects pistol-whipped the two people who were in the home. Both are in the hospital so police have not been able to talk to them about what the suspects might have taken or if they are acquainted with any of the suspects.

While officers were working that scene, a jogger who is in town on business was confronted by the suspects.

"One got out with a gun, and they were demanding items from him," Crump explained. "He decided to fight back at that point. He literally began to assault one of the suspects, at which point several of them jumped out of the van and began beating on him."

The jogger, a man in his 60s from Britain, managed to get the gun away from the suspects during the scuffle.

The suspects fled that scene when several cars passed.

The group ditched the van and tried to run, scattering into the neighborhood.

Crump said one of the suspects was run over by the van, but was not seriously injured.

With support from the helicopter, officers and K-9 units located four of the five suspects.

"They appear to all be juveniles, at this point, that are in custody," Crump said. "We think we may have one additional suspect, but we'll most likely  get him identified through the others."

Officers recovered two weapons -- CO2 cartridge pellet guns.

Shortly before 8 a.m., police said they had cleared the perimeter.

Even as officers and two K-9 units searched the area, kids were walking to school. Sheely Farms Elementary School is just down the street.

At this point, police have not determined the suspects' motive.

"It just seems as though we've got some young males -- misguided, at least -- out doing crimes last night," Crump said.