Dozens call in with tips for catching rock burglar - East Valley Tribune: News

Dozens call in with tips for catching rock burglar

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Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2004 12:42 am | Updated: 4:46 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Dozens of people called police with tips on who the notorious rock burglar might be — or, at least, who is driving a truck like the burglar’s, authorities said Wednesday.

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Police on Tuesday released pictures and a description of the white Ford F-150 they believe is linked to the jewel thief who has eluded capture for 12 years while stealing millions of dollars in valuables from more than 300 upscale homes around Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

The pictures were taken by a camera at a restaurant drive-through lane in September.

Police also released a description of the man who might be driving that truck: White, in his 40s, about 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, muscular.

Police declined to say what evidence links the truck to the crook.

“It looks like we have received about 50 calls, and the majority pertain to the truck,” said Phoenix Sgt. Paul Penzone, who oversees the Silent Witness program.

Scottsdale police Lt. Craig Chrzanowski, who leads a multiagency task force hunting the burglar, said detectives were already following up on several tips called into Silent Witness, which is offering up to $26,000 for the arrest and conviction of the burglar.

Chrzanowski said some detectives were reluctant to release pictures of the truck because the burglar could then dispose of it.

But police efforts to track down the truck on their own had turned up nothing, he said.

To illustrate the lengths to which law enforcement has gone trying to find the truck, Chrzanowski said that in late March roughly 100 officers spent a day knocking on the doors of likely truck owners.

They didn't find the burglar, but they were able to rule out 600 F-150s in Maricopa County that shared some characteristics of the burglar's vehicle, he said.

Penzone said not all the tips called in since Tuesday even relate to the rock burglar.

Some callers left information on other suspects in other crimes. “It has just kind of had a positive impact all the way around,” he said.

Police were able to rule out some tips immediately.

“I have a lead on a guy who’s stealing some rocks,” one caller reported. “I saw it on the news about the white pickup truck and I seen a guy hauling rocks. . . . I left a couple of messages, but nobody called me back.”

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