Sweep rounds up domestic violence fugitives - East Valley Tribune: News

Sweep rounds up domestic violence fugitives

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Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:11 am | Updated: 7:28 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Martin Rodriguez stood in only his pajama bottoms, his hands cuffed behind his back and his face glum while a happy Chihuahua ran circles around the yard.

Mesa police and Maricopa County probation officers arrested Rodriguez Wednesday on a warrant stemming from a domestic violence conviction.

He was one of 24 citywide and 267 statewide arrested during a roundup of domestic violence fugitives as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Detectives Tom Serenko and Lauri Kessler are partners in Mesa’s domestic violence unit and daily see the assaults, the threats, the stalking, the broken cell phones or the holes punched in walls that come when loved ones turn their anger on one another.

And a common occurrence in such cases is for the victim to forgive the perpetrator and cut lines of cooperation with police.

“We can be there every time that they need us and, hopefully, we’ll be there that one time they decide to stick with it,” Serenko said.

Mesa police Chief George Gascón said the roundup was meant “to send a very clear message to the victims and suspects that the victims will get support and the suspects will go to jail.”

Some of those arrested in Mesa sulked, some cried and others stayed on the lam. Cori Ryan, 21, wept when Serenko put her under arrest, complaining that she owed only $20 of her $350 fine.

“I swear to God I’m going into (expletive) labor so I don’t go to jail,” said Ryan, seven months pregnant.

Her arrest was the first of the day for Serenko, Kessler and three probation officers who accompanied them.

The first few hours of the roundup were spent on three other fugitives — one whose ex-roommate said the man had left the state before authorities arrived, and the other two seemingly a step ahead of law enforcement in staying on the run.

“Some days are so good you say, ‘I wish all days were like this,’” said Jesse Leroy, a probation officer who hunts fugitives for a living.

But they’re not all good days.

“Some days you can’t buy an arrest,” he said.

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