Tempe Police arrested a 24-year-old Tempe man Tuesday in connection with 17 burglaries between Sept. 16 and Oct. 29.
Michael Tolley was arrested after detectives set up a meeting to buy some of the items Tolley was selling online.
“Yesterday’s arrest and ongoing investigation is an example of the positive results which can be achieved when technology and intelligence led policing strategies are combined with good old fashioned police work,” said Lt. Scott Smith, a criminal investigator.
Tolley allegedly admitted he committed the crimes between midnight and 4 a.m. specifically while residents were at home, police said. Tolley told police he enjoyed sneaking around in the darkness and observing people in their homes.
Most of the crimes occurred within a one-mile radius of the suspect’s home, police said.
Tolley allegedly would either walk or ride his bike through alleys in the Mill Avenue and US 60 area, police said. He would enter backyards and enter homes through unlocked doors. After entering the home, he would quickly grab anything, such as cell phones, laptop computers and purses, before immediately leaving, police said.
The stolen items were sold either on Craigslist or on the street for cash, police said. Police believe that Tolley burned five purses and detectives recovered seven more during a warranted search.
Tolley told police that he did not attempt to enter homes with motion lights, security systems, barking dogs or locked doors. None of the burglaries involved forced entry, police said.
“We remain committed to keeping our community safe and would like to remind residents that they can help us by keeping their doors and windows locked and take care not to store valuables in plain view for criminals to see and target during moments of opportunity,” Smith said.
Tolley was booked into Tempe City Jail and is currently facing 17 counts of burglary, two counts of criminal trespass, ten counts of trafficking in stolen property, one count of felony arson and one count of misdemeanor arson.
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