Michael Tolley Loves Purses -- Enough to Break Into 17 Houses to Steal Them, Cops Say
Tempe resident Michael Tolley loves purses so much that he allegedly broke into 17 houses in his own neighborhood to steal them.
Maybe its not the actual purses he loves, but the meth- and heroin-money he got from his alleged purse-stealing spree.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Tempe police found 10 separate postings on Craigslist in which Tolley, 24, had posted items that were stolen in burglaries.
When interviewed by the cops, Tolley told police there were another 20 Craigslist postings that he was responsible for.
Tolley said he'd gone into 17 houses in his neighborhood -- around the 5000 block of South Mill Avenue -- and would take the nearest purse or other valuable item he could find before leaving, according to the documents.
He added that he does about $20 to $40 worth of meth and heroin a day, so going into people's houses to steal purses does the job.
Tolley was busted on Tuesday after allegedly selling a stolen purse to an undercover officer, and police recovered more purses after serving a search warrant on his house, according to the documents.
Tolley told the cops that he also set fire to at least five of the purses in an attempt to "destroy the personal identifying information" of the victims, but that didn't work out so well -- police say they found four half-burned purses in an alleyway next to his house, and another one a few blocks away.
Tolley told police he crawled in through doggy doors or just opened unlocked doors, but got scared several times and didn't steal anything from a few houses.
The total tally of charges for Tolley: 17 counts of burglary, 10 counts of trafficking in stolen property, two counts of criminal trespassing, and two counts of arson. Fabulous.
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.