Since February of 2013 approximately 30 spare tire thefts have been reported in Chandler, Mesa, and Gilbert. In each of the reported cases, the spare tire was mounted on the vehicle’s exterior.
On July 10, 2013 detectives from the Chandler Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit arrested 39-year-old Angel Pat Ortiz and charged him with two counts of Trafficking in Stolen Property and one count of Theft. Investigators believe Mr. Ortiz is involved in all of the spare tire thefts across the three municipalities. He was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on the above listed charges.
Detectives working this case believe there are additional victims who have not yet come forward. While Mr. Ortiz seemed to favor Jeep Liberty’s, Toyota Rav 4’s, and Honda CRV’s, he targeted any vehicle with an exterior spare tire. In all incidents, Mr. Ortiz chose to victimize a vehicle that did not have a locking lug nut or other anti-theft device on the tire.
If you have been the victim of a similar theft and neglected to report it to the police, please contact the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782-4130. Please reference police report number 13-67292 when you call.
For more information, please contact Detective Seth Tyler at (480) 782-4105.