Burglars steal ashes of woman's two dogs

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Neighbors were able to interrupt two burglars, but not before they stole the remains of two dogs from a woman's central Phoenix home. But there is a happy ending to the story.

Jo Fenton was just returning home when she noticed a strange car in her sister's driveway near Glendale Avenue and 15th Street.

"I didn't know if she was having work done or not," said Fenton.

She wasn't. Rather, her sister Jennifer Mahaney's home was being burglarized.

"I walked to the foot of the driveway. I see this guy hop into the car and pull forward," recalled Fenton.

Instead of driving toward her, the suspect drove into Mahaney's yard and bottomed out near a rose bush, leaving a trail of oil behind.

"Their car was bucking like a Bronco, across both driveways," said Fenton.

Mahaney returned home a few minutes later and found her place ransacked and the cremated remains of her two dogs gone.

"Larry and Luci. Both of them are containers with ashes inside," said Mahaney.

However, Mahaney had everything returned in less than 24 hours. She credits her sister and the quick response from police.

Officers arrested and booked into jail Larry Merrill and Mariah Simpson in connection with the crime.

"This is where the Burglary Reduction Program comes into place. It's about 6-7 years old now," said Officer James Holmes with Phoenix Police.

Holmes says detectives are assigned simply to reducing property crime, and he says the city has seen a 20 percent reduction in such crimes compared to last year.

"Within a day, we had these guys in custody already but the biggest (help) is the sister and the neighbors and the folks out there seeing what was going on," he said.

"I really feel blessed like it was my Christmas present really," said Mahaney.