Hot Links: Cop Accused of Shoplifting, MVD, and the Penis Tree

A Mesa police officer is accused of shoplifting at Sportsman's Warehouse in east Mesa. Officer Mark Cormier was cited this week for stealing an item from the store and has been placed on administrative reassignment while an internal investigation is conducted. A security manager for the store says he will press charges against Cormier, but Cormier -- who has no prior disciplinary actions against him -- denies that he shoplifted anything...Some Tempe residents are offended by what they view as a sexually suggestive...tree. A resident in the 2000 block of east Dunbar had received a violation notice for having a dead tree in the backyard, and the solution was apparently to carve the tree to resemble a penis. The tree now reportedly rises over the side of a cement wall, where it's visible to passersby. The homeowner was not available for comment...

Nine of Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division offices are scheduled to close today because of the state's budget crisis. Two Valley offices are on the closure list: the one at 28th street and Washington and the one in east Mesa. Other closures include MVD offices in Benson, Bisbee, Superior, and Williams. A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation said the closures are permanent, and workers at those offices will be transferred to other facilities...Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's senior assistant, Joe Villasenor, has been charged with assault. Villasenor is charged with assaulting his wife after a night of drinking on December 12. Villasenor has repeatedly denied the charges but has been placed on unpaid leave...An illegal immigrant reportedly used the identity of a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy to get a job. According to the MCSO, Leobardo Estrada-Robles, 31, used the Social Security number of a deputy to get work with construction companies here. Deputies arrested Robles Wednesday evening and booked him on several counts of aggravated identity theft. They say Robles was previously deported before entering the states again illegally...An Army sergeant at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a 12-year-old girl. Staff Sergeant Glenn Cornell Worley, 34, was booked into the Cochise County Jail on eight counts of suspicion of child molestation, and was being held without bond. The investigation began when the girl's guardian reported some suspicious text messages between Worley and the girl, who reportedly confessed to their relationship when confronted by her guardian. Worley is reportedly a friend of the alleged victim's family.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea