Hot Links: Hostage Situation, Lay Offs, and 700 Fake Gift Cards

Peoria police were working the scene of a barricade and possible hostage situation this morning. Officers responded to a call about a burglary in progress at 71st Avenue and Corrine Drive about 4:30. When they arrived, they found a man on the first floor, who informed them that between five and 10 other people were upstairs. Officers have closed 71st Avenue between Cactus Road and Sweetwater Drive while dealing with the situation...An apartment fire sent a huge plume of smoke over central Phoenix Tuesday morning. Two or three apartments in a complex near Indian School Road and Third Avenue caught fire, and several vehicles were also burned. No injuries were reported. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire...Tucson-based company Raytheon Missile Systems has laid off more than 200 salaried workers. A spokesman for the company, Southern Arizona's largest employer, said those laid off will receive severance benefits and outplacement assistance. Raytheon Missile Systems recently canceled three projects because of defense budget cuts...

The Gateway Boys and Girls Club in Mesa, which has been open for more than a decade, will close on May 28. Children are getting referred to other club locations in Apache Junction, Gilbert, and Queen Creek for the summer...Pinal County workers are under investigation for theft, after a whistleblower said they had taken air-conditioning units from the county and re-sold them. The investigation is ongoing, but so far, no arrests have been made...Scottsdale police arrested two people on fraud charges after they allegedly used fake gift cards to make purchases at Valley Safeway, Wal-Mart, Albertson's, and Sam's Club stores. When police searched the vehicle of the suspect, Jason Ippolito, they found about 700 phony gift cards. Ippolito's alleged accomplice, Andrea Walker, was booked on counts of forgery and ID theft.

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