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Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to continue holiday mall posse patrol

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PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said a volunteer posse that patrols local malls in an effort to deter crime during the holidays will continue this year.

According to Lt. George Acritelli, the uniformed members of the mall posse and their deputy supervisors will patrol seven Phoenix-area malls.

The malls will include Arrowhead Towne Center, Biltmore Fashion Park, Chandler Fashion Center, Desert Sky Mall, Paradise Valley Mall, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Superstition Springs Center.

Acritelli said the posse will patrol the exterior of the malls, which will allow city agencies to allocate more resources inside the mall because of their presence outside.

Acritelli declined to give specifics on the posse patrols, including the total number of posse members who will participate, how many will be at each mall at a given time and during what hours they will patrol the malls.

Several of the posse members who have undergone firearm training will be armed, but others will not. The posse members also do not have the authority to arrest suspects.

The posse was headed for more than two decades by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio during his time at the sheriff’s office.

Acritelli said Sheriff Paul Penzone wanted to “continue and push forward” with the posse after evaluating its effectiveness in the past.

In order to avoid falling victim to theft this holiday season, Acritelli said shoppers should pay attention to their surroundings, conceal their valuables within their vehicles and remember to lock their cars.

And if shoppers feel uncomfortable or notice any suspicious activity, Acritelli said they are encouraged to rely that information to posse members so they can investigate.

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