Martha Vazquez

Former KVOA anchor Martha Vazquez, who resigned from her position Monday, is suspected of stealing a jacket and earrings from Dillard’s at the Tucson Mall over the weekend.

A store loss prevention officer saw Vazquez try on a hooded jacket worth $338, check herself in the mirror, and then conceal the jacket, said Sgt. Matt Ronstadt, a Tucson police spokesman.

She then purchased other items and was stopped by the officer when she left the store, Ronstadt said.

The loss prevention officer searched Vazquez and found a $30 pair of earrings as well as the jacket, he said.

A Tucson police officer was called to the store and Vazquez was given a citation and released at the scene, Ronstadt said.

According to Tucson City Court records Vazquez is expected to be arraigned on Feb. 22. She faces one count of shoplifting, a misdemeanor offense. 

A police report obtained by the Tucson Weekly said the loss prevention officer saw Vazquez on video surveillance take off her sweater, try on the jacket and later position herself between two clothing racks and hide the jacket in the sweater she took off.

When asked if she intended to steal the jacket and earrings, Vazquez said “not at first, but I did and I have no excuses for it,” the police report states.

Vazquez said she could have used a credit card to pay for the items but she did not use it, according to the report.

Vazquez is not allowed in Dillard’s or the Tucson or Park Place malls, the report said.

Vazquez resigned Monday effective immediately "due to personal reasons," said Cathie Batbie-Loucks, KVOA-TV news director, in an email. She did not elaborate.

Batbie-Loucks did not respond to messages left later Monday asking for comment on the court record.

Vazquez has a nonlisted phone number and did not return a Facebook message seeking comment.

The KVOA Channel 4 staff was notified Monday afternoon of Vazquez's resignation.

"Martha has been a valued employee" for more than a quarter-century, Batbie-Loucks said in the email. "We wish her the best going forward."

Kristi Tedesco will fill in temporarily for Vazquez as anchor of the 4 p.m. weekday newscast.

Vazquez, known as a trailblazer in local broadcasting, is a native Tucsonan and a graduate of Cholla High School and the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in radio/television.

She began working at KOLD Channel 13 in about 1977 and left briefly for a Phoenix stint before returning home in 1979. She was a reporter, among other roles, who worked her way up.

The Arizona Daily Star wrote in 1984: "Martha Vazquez has been co-anchoring the weekend newscasts on KOLD-TV, giving Tucson a long-awaited Hispanic evening anchor."

That year, '84, was also when Vazquez left KOLD and joined KVOA, according to newspaper archives.

At Channel 4, Vazquez anchored the weekday noon slot for years before she began anchoring the 4 p.m. weekday newscast five years ago.

She has also taken part in many civic fundraising events over the years as a local TV celebrity.

To contact reporters: Veronica Cruz at or 573-4224; Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104.