YCSO: 2 men use ruse to burglarize Rimrock home

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Steven Elms (left) and Juan Fuentes By Jennifer Thomas Steven Elms (left) and Juan Fuentes By Jennifer Thomas
Steven Elms By Jennifer Thomas Steven Elms By Jennifer Thomas
Juan Fuentes By Jennifer Thomas Juan Fuentes By Jennifer Thomas

RIMROCK, Ariz. -- Authorities in Yavapai County have arrested two men accused of burglarizing a 74-year-old woman's home then using her credit card at various stores and pawning some of the stolen items.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Steven Elms, 29, and Juan Fuentes, 27, stole a credit card, cash and jewelry from the victim's Rimrock home.

The stolen credit card was used later at a local business. A YCSO detective reviewed surveillance video of a transaction showing two males then showed still photos of them to the victim. 

The woman recognized them and said that both had been in her home soliciting a new business called "Clean to Profection," according to sheriff's office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn.

The detective also went to a Flagstaff-area Wal-Mart where the stolen credit card was used on Dec. 6 and reviewed security video. D'Evelyn said both suspects were seen entering the store and Elms purchased a tablet computer using the victim's credit card.

About 20 minutes later, the suspects returned to the store and Fuentes filled a shopping cart with camping supplies and then paid for the items with the victim's card, according to D'Evelyn.

The victim's credit card also was used at a gas station in Munds Park where the suspects were seen on surveillance video in a silver 1985 Chrysler New Yorker registered to Elms.

D'Evelyn said the detective traced some of the victim's jewelry to a local business and confirmed that Fuentes had pawned those items. Additional stolen property was pawned in Prescott and Cottonwood. The items were recovered.

On Tuesday, the detective was notified that Elms and Fuentes were inside a Cottonwood-area pawn shop and were detained by deputies. During a search of the Chrysler, deputies located additional stolen property and recovered stolen mail connected to multiple locations in the area.

According to D'Evelyn, the suspects admitted to their involvement and indicated they entered the victim's home several times while she was away.

Elms and Fuentes face numerous charges, including burglary, credit card theft, identity theft, nine counts of credit card fraud and three counts of trafficking in stolen property. Mail theft charges are pending.

Elms remains in custody on a $20,000 bond and Fuentes remains in custody on a $21,500 bond.

Detectives are looking into the involvement of these suspects in additional crimes. If anyone has information regarding Elms and Fuentes related to this case or other thefts, call 928-567-7710.

From the sheriff's office:

Always consider having a family member, friend, or neighbor present in such instances. Never let "solicitors" wander out of your sight. As is typical with situations like this, the suspects will employ distraction techniques to allow the theft of valuables from the home without the resident seeing the illicit activity. Many times, offering a "home repair service" is the ruse that gets rip-off artists access throughout the house and the valuables inside. If you doubt the validity of anyone at your door, ask them to leave. If they refuse or continue to pressure the solicitation, call law enforcement.