One of the weirdest details in news coverage of the weekend beating of State Legislator Frank Pratt, a Republican from Casa Grande, was that his stolen SUV was "state issued."
Several media outlets reported that detail, including the Arizona Republic, which stated:
She noticed that his car, a state-issued gold 2007 GMC Yukon with Arizona plate 815-KYJ, was gone. At first, she thought he wasn't there.
The idea of lawmakers being issued vehicles prompted some angry comments, including this one from a Huffington Post reader:
What's with the state-issued Yukon? My state is in bad enough shape and we're providing giant gas-guzzling public vehicles for private use on the holidays?
In fact, Pratt's Yukon was not "state-issued," Paul Boyer, a spokesman for the Republican majority at the House of Representatives, tells New Times this morning.
"I spoke with the Speaker's office -- they told me they didn't issue him one," Boyer says.
Boyer says only one member of the Legislature occasionally uses a state-issued vehicle -- though he couldn't recall which one. Sounds like a future blog post...
Don Daniel, a deputy chief with the Casa Grande police department, confirms Boyer's info, adding that he's not sure how the rumor got started.
Daniel also tells us that Pratt's expected to be released from the hospital today.
Here's the complete news release on the incident from Casa Grande police, via the Pinal County Sheriff's Office:
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On 12/25/10 at about 2015 hours, Frank Pratt was found by his wife at his business, Pratt Pools, in the 100 block of W. Cottonwood Lane, Casa Grande. Mr. Pratt had gone to the business about 1600 hours earlier in the day to check on it when he was confronted by a subject already inside the building who severely beat him, knocked him unconscious, and left him bound inside the building.
That subject stole Mr. Pratt's vehicle and left the area. There is no further description of this subject.
Mr. Pratt was treated by Casa Grande Fire and was flown to a Phoenix area hospital where he is in stable condition with multiple bruises/contusions and at least one fracture.
Mr. Pratt is the elected Representative in District 23 of the Arizona House of Representatives.
The Casa Grande Police Department is seeking the public's help in locating Mr. Pratt's vehicle, a gold 2007 GMC Yukon with Az plate 815-KYJ. If the vehicle is found, please call 911 and report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
Anyone having further information about this crime is asked to contact the Casa Grande Police Department.
The PD's number is (520) 421-8700.
UPDATE: Police released this photograph of a Rolex Submariner watch similar to the one stolen from Pratt: