ARIZONA NEWS

Suspect arrested after Mesa manhunt allegedly stole guns and golf cart, robbed bakery

Feb 2, 2024, 11:01 AM | Updated: 3:02 pm

Split image with a mugshot of crime spree suspect Thomas Zavala on the left and a file photo of a M...

Thomas Zavala was arrested in Mesa and booked into jail on 11 felony counts after a manhunt Feb. 1, 2024. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

PHOENIX — The man arrested in Mesa after a manhunt Thursday allegedly had gone on a crime spree while under the influence of drugs, authorities said.

Thomas Zavala, 40, was booked into jail on 11 felony counts — including burglary, vehicle theft, armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — after his arrest. His bond was set at $250,000.

According to court documents, Zavala told the arresting Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputy that he was under the influence of fentanyl.

What are the details of Thursday’s East Valley crime spree?

The following account of how the events unfolded comes from information in the probable cause statement for Zavala’s arrest and other details provided by MCSO.

The crime spree started when Zavala allegedly stole a golf cart and rifles from a home near University Drive and 105th Street in Mesa.

He then rode the golf cart to the Holsum Bakery on Apache Trail east of Crismon Road in Apache Junction and allegedly robbed the business at gunpoint.

Next, he allegedly broke into a mobile home outside a residence near University Drive and 98th Street in Mesa. The homeowner called 911 and reported that the suspect shot in his direction. MCSO responded and saw an armed man fleeing into a nearby neighborhood and evidence that a gun had been fired.

Zavala then allegedly stole a car and items from a home in the neighborhood near University Drive and 98th Street in Mesa.

An MCSO deputy spotted the stolen car and went to investigate. The vehicle sped off and crashed near Hawes and McKellips roads, and the driver fled on foot.

“After a lengthy search involving multiple police agencies, the driver (identified as Thomas Zavala) was located in the area of the crash,” the probable cause statement says.

How long did the manhunt for Thomas Zavala last?

MCSO announced around 11:20 a.m. Thursday it was working an active scene near McKellips Road between Hawes Road and Mountain Bridge Drive. The public was told to avoid the area.

A perimeter was set up and lockdowns were implemented while the search was ongoing. Mesa Police Department SWAT members were also on the scene.

MCSO said the lockdowns were lifted around 2:30 p.m., after Zavala was captured.

Zavala was taken to a hospital after his arrest for precautionary reasons and booked into jail upon his release, MCSO said.

An unidentified woman who was with Zavala for at least part of the crime spree was also detained. Her involvement is still under investigation, MCSO said.

This is an updated version of a story originally published Feb. 1, 2024.

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Suspect arrested after Mesa manhunt allegedly stole guns and golf cart, robbed bakery