Suspect steals APS truck, leads DPS on chase in West Valley

Feb 15, 2023, 8:39 AM | Updated: 11:49 am
(Arizona Public Service Photo)...
(Arizona Public Service Photo)
(Arizona Public Service Photo)

PHOENIX – A man suspected of carjacking a utility company service truck led authorities on a chase into a West Valley neighborhood Wednesday morning before he was arrested in a backyard.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the armed 24-year-old suspect broke into a home and scaled block-wall fencing behind 12 houses in Tolleson after abandoning the Arizona Public Service truck.

He was finally caught near 103rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road, sitting atop a backyard’s block wall waiting for troopers.

“He peacefully surrendered. The outcome could have gone in the opposite direction,” DPS spokesman Bart Graves said to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

He had already broken into one home, where a father talked him into leaving, Graves said.

The unidentified man faces charges including carjacking, endangerment and trespassing. More charges could be added, DPS said.

The incident began around 4:53 a.m. when an APS worker driving northbound on the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway spotted a vehicle broken down near the Thomas Road ramp.

The employee pulled over to help the man push the car out of traffic lanes. The driver then pulled out a gun and took off in the service truck.

Troopers tracked the suspect by using the truck’s GPS. They found it abandoned in a ditch along Lower Buckeye Road and 103rd Avenue.

Graves said the man walked into the neighborhood, made his way over a 6-foot high block wall and got inside the home of a family of four.

The family called 911 while the suspect was in their backyard.

“The father of this family confronts the suspect, who still has a gun, and convinces him to leave his house,” Graves said.

The suspect left and eventually stopped at a house near 103rd Avenue and Tonto Street.

“We don’t what his plan was, how he acquired the gun, why he carjacked the APS vehicle and what he intended to do,” Graves said.

“As terrifying as it was for the family involved, [at least] nobody was injured.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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Suspect steals APS truck, leads DPS on chase in West Valley