Ever one to exploit an opportunity for attention, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is celebrating the arrest of a man he says has been stalking him for weeks.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Ruben Pena, 43, was a frequent visitor to MCSO headquarters. He claimed to be Jesus Christ and frequently demanded face-time with the sheriff, which, predictably, did not go over well with the sheriff’s men:
On December 8, when Pena’s “request was not completed in timely manner,” writes the MCSO in a statement, “he left a letter which read: ‘Joe!!! Your ass is mine Sincerely Your creator & Destroyer.’”
Authorities say “Pena had been in the [MCSO] building several other times” and made statements like: “The Sheriff is a piece of shit” and “This isn’t threatening, but this piece of shit is done.”
It is unclear whether Pena has any mental-health issues that may have contributed to his behavior, but the MCSO took his statements seriously and literally and opened an investigation into the matter.
About a week after the December 8 incident, the MCSO says Pena showed up at the headquarters again, and made the following verbal threats to Arpaio:
“I'm gonna kill him alright."
"I will awaken him. He will hear my voice and ambulance.”
"That Arpaio is so charming, so considerate. He is occupying my position.”
"I have all that he needs. I am his creator and destroyer."
The following day he left two bags on the property in which officers found a letters stating:
“Son of mary lou Bownds of the house of david can not receive any texts, calls, or see my face again until she accepts and confesses with her mouth that I am Jesus Christ Jr. Son of Jesus of Nazareth. Bag location is @ renaisance Fire/exit.”
The MCSO says the notes “prompted a bomb sweep of the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Phoenix . . . to rule out any possible suspicious packages left at the hotel.”
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Pena was arrested shortly after and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on a Class 3 felony stalking charge and a Class 4 felony Hoax charge. His next court date is set for December 22.
According to the MCSO, Arpaio receives death threats frequently, though as New Times has been covering for years, the sheriff has a “sordid history of creating media events out of bogus death threats” for publicity.
Still, the MCSO maintains that “Pena’s stalking case is a bit unusual as nobody has been arrested for stalking Sheriff Arpaio. While the Sheriff has many admirers none have risen to the level of Pena’s actions.”
Immediately after the arrest, Arpaio took to Facebook to brag about the incident, prompting his followers to fawn over him: