Tire impressions key to catching Pinal County suspect

2013-08-30T10:24:00Z Tire impressions key to catching Pinal County suspectKimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 30, 2013 10:24 am  • 

Tire impressions left at the scene of a crime Monday helped deputies track down a suspected thief.

Kirt Watts, 56, of Coolidge was arrested by deputies in connection to the theft of thousands of dollars worth of farm equipment, Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.

Monday morning deputies were called to the farm near the intersection of Kleck and Wheeler roads in Coolidge, to investigate the theft of parts from a canal pump. The pump, worth $1,800, was dismantled and ruined, and more than $6,600 in parts, including a large radiator, piping, a water meter and a fuel reservoir, were stolen.

Deputies took photos of tire impressions left by the suspect vehicle.

“The tire impressions were distinct due to the fact the suspect vehicle had three of the same tires and one different tire which left a different tread impression in the dirt,” Gaffney said.

Deputies searched a nearby neighborhood and found a vehicle backed up to a residence in the 400 block of West Taylor Avenue in Coolidge. The tires on the vehicle matched the tread impression left in the dirt at the scene, Gaffney said.

Watts was at the home visiting a friend, but denied involvement in the theft of the pump. He told deputies he lived with his mother nearby.

Deputies went to his home and “could see in plain view in his yard the items stolen from the water pump,” Gaffney said. Everything except the radiator was recovered.

“When detectives spoke with Watts he denied stealing the items, but rather said he found all of the items scattered in the desert. Evidence at the scene and the fact he was still covered in grease and oil from when he disassembled the water pump along with other evidence confirmed he did steal the items and damaged the pump,” according to the press release.

Watts was booked into the Pinal County jail and faces charges of burglary, theft and criminal damage.

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