A 24-year-old man police were looking for at a Phoenix home that burned down avoided trial this week by pleading guilty on charges that stem from a Gilbert car jacking and Scottsdale home invasion.
Erasmo Ruiz Villarreal agreed to a plea agreement last week, evading a trial in Maricopa County Superior Court that was set to begin Monday.
Villarreal pleaded guilty to theft of transportation and armed robbery from the Oct. 30 car jacking at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary from the Dec. 17 Scottsdale home invasion, a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman said.
In exchange the county attorney’s office dismissed numerous other charges in the two cases.
His sentencing is set for Sept. 25. He could face about 25 years in prison for the vehicle theft and armed robbery counts and probation time for the burglary charge, said a county attorney’s office spokesman.
Villarreal was the subject of a search warrant executed by Gilbert police on Dec. 20 at a home at 6802 S. Eighth St. in Phoenix. The home caught fire after an officer launched a diversionary canister through a window and it landed on a bed. The family has filed paperwork with the Town of Gilbert stating they will sue if they are not paid $750,000.
Villarreal was caught Jan. 13 at a home on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land.