Phoenix police say a man was able to steal three AR-15 rifles from a Walmart store by placing them in a cart and wheeling them out of the store.
Daniel Justin Miranda, 46, was arrested yesterday afternoon for stealing the rifles, in part because officers saw him sell one of the rifles in a parking lot adjacent to the Walmart store, according to police.
Miranda's accused of stealing the rifles from the sporting goods department of the Walmart store near 19th Avenue and Bell Road around 4 a.m. on Friday.
Police didn't go into great detail of how he managed to obtain the rifles, which presumably were secured to some degree, but say he placed the rifles in a cart, covered the cart with cardboard, and went out the entrance.
Turns out, Friday afternoon, officers with the Neighborhood Enforcement Team (more on those officers here) watched a person sell a rifle to two other people in the parking lot of a hotel in the same shopping center of the Walmart, according to Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes.
Holmes says the officers contacted the buyers, while the seller -- later identified by the officers as Miranda -- fled the scene. The two men admitted to buying one of the rifles, valued at $1,500, for $200, and Holmes says both men admitted to having a reason to believe the rifle was stolen. Police would later find out that it was one of the rifles stolen from the Walmart store a stone's throw away from the hotel earlier that day.
Both of the buyers were booked into jail on charges of controlling stolen property, and one of the buyers was a convicted felon, meaning he was prohibited from possessing a firearm to begin with, which resulted in an additional charge for him.
On Monday afternoon, police sent out a video-surveillance shot of the Walmart theft suspect to media outlets, and by Tuesday morning, Phoenix PD had multiple tips identifying the man as Miranda, Holmes says.
The officers who watched the gun sale in the hotel parking lot confirmed Miranda was the same guy they saw sell the rifle, Holmes says.
Police arrested Miranda yesterday around 11th Avenue and Bell, identifying him as a transient who frequents the area. Holmes says Miranda admitted to the Walmart thefts, but also admitted to committing a burglary at a Sprout's grocery store around Third Avenue and Bell Road that same morning.
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Miranda was booked into jail on charges of burglary, trafficking stolen property, and misconduct involving weapons.
Police were able to recover all three of the rifles.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.