Red-Light Camera Helps Stick It to Suspected Motorcycle Thief

One in a blue moon, photo enforcement cameras do something other than make a profit off of momentarily careless drivers like Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

One Phoenix red-light camera helped nab a suspected motorcycle thief recently, says the Arizona Department of Public Safety.


In a hotel parking lot last month, a DPS detective spotted a stolen motorcycle and a dude walking up to it. The detective questioned the man, 40-year-old Thomas Paul Norton, then arrested him for carrying two forged driver's licenses. Since the man hadn't been caught on the motorcycle, the detective couldn't bust him for vehicle theft -- until eight days later, after the motorcycle's owner received a red-light ticket in the mail.

In the picture that came with the ticket (above) was Norton, still wearing the same shirt he had on when arrested and driving the motorcycle 17 hours after it had been reported stolen.

Troopers compared the shot with this booking mug of a swastika-adorned Norton, then submitted the stolen-vehicle charges.

At the time of his arrest, Norton was out of jail on bail for numerous other charges including car theft, drug and weapons offenses and forgery, so this may be one case where photo enforcement actually worked to keep the community safer. -- Ray Stern  

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern