Residential Burglar Arrested After Confrontation With 14-year-old Victim

January 15, 2008

photo of Thomas GarzaOn most occasions we hear of residential burglary victims coming home to find that they have been victimized. Houses are ransacked with valuables missing and victims are left with a feeling of insecurity in a place where they should feel the most secure. Burglary offenders often wait for that window of opportunity when a homeowner is at work, on vacation, or out for the night.

On January 15, 2008 at 8:28 am, the Mesa Police Department arrested 30-year-old Thomas Gonzales Garza of Chandler on several felony charges including Residential Burglary, Aggravated Assault on a Minor, Criminal Trespassing and Criminal Damage in the 1000 block of East 7th Place in Mesa. Garza is suspected of illegally entering and burglarizing a west Mesa home. During the commission of the crime, a 14-year-old male victim was alone inside of the residence. He heard a noise in the kitchen and decided to investigate. He exited his room and walked to the kitchen. As he entered the kitchen he saw a male subject, later identified as Thomas Garza, trying to force open the back arcadia door. The victim immediately ran back to his room, locked the door and called 911. Uniformed patrol officers were immediately dispatched to the residence. The victim remained on the phone with the 911 operator while Garza allegedly burglarized the residence. At one point, Garza forced entry into the victim’s bedroom. The victim confronted Garza with a baseball bat, striking him several times. Garza allegedly threatened the victim with a sharp object and then fled the victim’s room. At this point the victim forced his bedroom window open and made his way to patrol officers who had just arrived on scene.

Responding officers arrived to find Garza exiting the victim’s residence. Garza failed to comply with verbal commands to stop and a brief foot chase ensued. Garza was quickly apprehended in the backyard of a neighboring residence. During the foot chase, Garza dropped items of evidence belonging to the victim’s family. During a post-Miranda interview Garza admitted to the burglary and the confrontation with the 14-year-old victim. Garza has been named as a person of interest in other residential burglaries that have recently occurred in Mesa. Those investigations are ongoing and will be disclosed to the public as time permits.

Garza was booked on the listed charges and is being held on a no bond status at the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix.

Thankfully, the 14-year-old victim in this case was unharmed. The 14-year-old victim is commended for remaining calm, contacting the police and protecting himself from possible harm. His actions are a prime example of when and how to use 911. The information he provided to the 911 operator allowed officers to recognize and quickly apprehend the suspect in this case. Responding officers are commended for their quick response and capture of the suspect.



Mesa Police Department
Media Relations Office

PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211

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