A guy trying to break into a home near Central Avenue and McDowell Road turned out to be a "star" of America's Most Wanted -- a suspect in the April beating death of a trucker's helper.
Phoenix police say they received a report of a man trying to force his way through the back door of a home about 9:30 p.m. near 300 West Lynwood. Fleet-footed cops arriving on the scene soon arrested Michael Chaves, 40, who -- police say -- admitted to a Connecticut murder that landed him on the popular real-crime show.
Chaves and the victim, Dale Anderson, both worked as "lumpers," or freelance truckers' assistants, according to the America's Most Wanted Web site. A trucker, after seeing the two together, found Anderson's bloodied body in the cab of his rig.
Chaves has been on the run since, moving through truck stops and homeless shelters. The AMW site states, almost unbelievably, that after a broadcast about the crime, a trucker called the show's hotline to say that Chaves was in his truck:
Cops say that upon hearing the trucker on the phone with our operator, Chaves said he didn't feel well and asked the trucker to pull over immediately.
When they came to a stop, the tipster said Chaves grabbed the sheets off the bed in which he was sleeping, jumped out of the truck, and ran off the highway in Texas, miles from any major city.
Having made it to Phoenix, Chaves apparently decided to expand his freelance business with a good break-in. We can only guess what kind of work he was planning on doing.
UPDATE 12/29/09: Chaves' mug shot:
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.