Peoria police: Evicted tenant goes on crime spree

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A man was arrested on several charges after allegedly going on a crime spree in Peoria.

It all started Friday afternoon at a home near 79th and Sweetwater avenues, where the man had been living.

One neighbor was a witness to part of that crime spree.

She said she was sitting in her room doing homework when she saw the commotion through her window.

"He was trying to jab at them," Cheyenne Mills said.

She said she saw her neighbor, who had recently been evicted from the home, holding a knife as she looked out her window, but when she rushed outside to see what was going on, "he was already speeding off, and the cleaner guys jumped in their truck to go chase him down.”

Police said the homeowner found Dennis Shofler in a closet in the home.

“Our recently evicted individual comes out holding a knife, threatens the homeowner and says, 'Give me your wallet.’ That homeowner complies, giving him the wallet," said Amanda Jacinto, Peoria police spokeswoman.

Police said a cleaning crew was there, too, and one of the workers went into the bathroom to call 911 while another worker tried to stop Shofler from taking their truck.

Police said that worker was injured as Shofler took off with the truck and sped off toward Grand Avenue.

"As he's headed down Grand Avenue, there was a car in front of him stopped at a red light,” Jacinto said. “He actually pushes that car into the intersection, so that he is able to continue running from officers. He also sideswiped some officer vehicles during his flight."

Jacinto said when Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies tried to stop him with stop sticks, “that suspect then swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid those stop sticks.”

Police finally stopped him at Dysart Road and Grand Avenue, arresting him on several charges.

Chris Crosthwait said she can't believe her neighbor would do that.

"I’m totally shocked,” she said. “I had no idea that anyone would do anything like that, first of all, and then to have it right across the street, that's kind of scary."

"He was asking to stay in my backyard because he had no place to go,” Mills said. “It makes me wonder, was he staying back there this whole time? Was he back there?"

Shofler is now facing several charges including armed robbery, theft of a vehicle, trespassing, felony flight and four counts of aggravated assault.