10 Craziest Phoenix Crimes of the Month: December
No matter how many police reports we read through on a monthly basis, the criminal creativity, stupidity, and craziness never ceases to amaze us.
Just when you think you've seen it all, there's always something worse. From a pair of seriously disturbing murders to a cop gone wild to a lonely guy snatching a child off the street, we bring you the 10 craziest Phoenix-area crimes of the month:
Tempe High School
For the second time in as many years, a teacher at Tempe High School is accused of having sex with a student. This time, police arrested 26-year-old Joel Calderon, a student of Arizona State University's education program who was a student-teacher in the high school's math department.
In Goodyear, Desert Edge High School wrestling coach Kyle Deberry isn't accused of having sex with a student. He is, however, accused of biting a 16-year-old female student on the neck, while allegedly sending sexually charged text messages to her and three other students.
Richard Dumas, a former Phoenix Suns player who spent most of his short-lived career here, was picked up in an organized retail-theft bust. Dumas' drug usage cut his career short, and his financial troubles were nearly immediate once he left the NBA in 1996. Now, he's been arrested for allegedly stealing things like DVDs and cigarettes.
Near the top of the the list of places not to pull a gun is a hospital, where police say Ryan McEwen pulled one, along with a knife, in early December. About 40 cops had to respond to Phoenix Baptist Hospital, where McEwen had barricaded himself inside a bathroom near the emergency room entrance. Four hours and $2,000 worth of damage later, police got McEwen out of there, without anybody getting shot.
Robert Curtis Milliron, a 22-year-old from Phoenix, told police he kidnapped an 8-year-old girl in Mesa on Sunday because he was "lonely" and wanted companionship. The girl had been riding her bicycle near her apartment in Mesa when Milliron grabbed her, pulled her into his car and drove away, police say. A witness called police, as Milliron crashed his car just a couple of minutes later, and the girl was able to run away.
A 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl in Tempe were arrested in an alleged plot to kill the boy's grandmother. The grandmother wasn't harmed, as police were notified of the alleged plot when the 15-year-old left his Facebook account open on a computer and someone found discussions regarding the plot. "They desired to make it look like an accident," police said.
After Chateen Latfolla declined to stop for police after committing "numerous traffic violations" on I-10, he hit two cars and a large rock before bailing out of his truck at a freeway off-ramp. He then reached into another vehicle, ripped the elderly driver out of the car, and drove off -- with the woman's 91-year-old husband still in the car. Latfolla drove to the Wild Horse Pass Casino and left the elderly man there, as Latfolla ran through the casino in an unsuccessful run from police.
A Tempe police officer was arrested in the Valley after allegedly driving drunk at more than 120 mph in a bid to outrun on-duty officers. Then, authorities say, Tempe Police Officer Garrett Peterson posted $10,000 bond and led law enforcement on another high-speed chase, this time near Yuma. The whole thing stemmed from an argument and threatening text messages Peterson allegedly sent to his ex-wife and her new husband.
A convicted felon is accused of murdering 14-year-old Claudia Ann Lucero, whose body was found in a Mesa dumpster in December. Mesa police announced the arrest of 31-year-old Alex Madrid, an ex-boyfriend of Lucero's mother. Detectives believe Madrid sexually assaulted the girl and strangled her to death before leaving her in the dumpster.
Daniel Taylor, 18, was asked to leave a Tempe Christmas party because he wasn't invited, but he returned wearing a clown mask and opened fire on people standing on the patio of the apartment, police say. A 28-year-old man died from gunshot wounds, while a woman who also was shot was hospitalized and treated for her injuries.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.