You may recall the sad story of Linda Ruiz-Rodriguez, a mentally ill Phoenix woman who police say called 9-1-1 129 times since January because she wanted some attention. She was arrested last month and charged with multiple felonies for the false reporting of crimes that police say didn't actually happen.
Now, several of Ruiz-Rodriguez's neighbors in Pine Tower, her city-run housing community -- described by one neighbor as a "pretty vicious" part of town-- are going to bat for the 60-year-old woman they say "couldn't hurt a fly." One woman even disputes some of the allegations made by the Phoenix Police Department and says she believes Linda was reporting actual crimes.
"I've always seen Linda show nothing but courtesy and respect for residents," says the neighbor, who asked to not be identified because of potential backlash from those who run the the facility.
According to the Phoenix Police Department, one of the more costly instances of Ruiz-Rodriguez's false reporting happened on July 25, when she called 9-1-1 to report that her four-story apartment building -- near 36th Street and Thomas Road -- was on fire.
The Phoenix Fire Department responded with 12 trucks and additional Phoenix police were dispatched to the blaze. Of course, there was no fire, police say.
Ruiz-Rodriguez's neighbor says she -- nor any of the tenants in the building to whom she's spoken about it -- remember ever seeing 12 fire trucks at the facility.
"Twelve fire trucks? Someone would have noticed 12 fire trucks," she says.
The complex, the neighbor says, is full of drug dealers and prostitutes. The smell of marijuana, she claims, fills the air in certain areas of the building.
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However, the neighbor says, Ruiz-Rodriguez was told by the facility's staff to not bother them with her complaints about possible illegal activity. Rather, she was told to call police.
The neighbor says that given the amount of crime that occurs in the facility, Linda was more than likely reporting actual suspicious activity -- not just looking for attention.
In all, Ruiz-Rodriguez was booked on 30 felony counts of false reporting, and one misdemeanor count of false reporting. Her neighbor says she and other tenants in the building plan to take their grievances about the condition of the facility -- and Ruiz-Rodriguez's arrest -- to the Phoenix City Council.