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News Review
Brazen Serial Burglar Arrested by Tempe PD Detectives
Posted Date: 10/31/2012

Tempe Police Department
October 31, 2012

Tempe Police Detectives have arrested 24 year old (Tempe resident) Michael Tolley in connection with 17 burglaries that occurred in Tempe between September 16th, 2012 and October 29, 2012.

Tempe Police Detectives, Patrol Officers and Crime Analysts worked together and identified the trend of burglaries that was taking place in the area of Mill and US 60. In fact, most crimes occurred within a one mile radius of the suspect’s home.

In most of the cases the suspect would either walk or bike through alleyways and enter residential yards by hopping fences. Tolley would check the residence to see if the doors were locked and enter through unsecure doors. Tolley expressed that he committed the crimes between midnight and 04:00 AM specifically while people were home. Tolley enjoyed being able to sneak around in the darkness and observe people in their homes.

In a post arrest interview, Tolley admitted to entering homes that were occupied if he could see where the residents were inside the home. None of the incidents involved forced entry. Once inside the home, the suspect would grab anything he could quickly access and immediately leave the property. Tolley removed laptops, cell phones and several purses during the burglaries, which he sold on Craigslist or for quick cash on the street. Tolley burned five of the purses and detectives recovered seven more purses during a search warrant service.

Detectives were able to make contact with Tolley by setting up a meeting to buy some of the items he had taken from the burglaries that he was selling online and he was ultimately placed under arrest yesterday afternoon.

Tolley also expressed that he would not attempt to enter homes with motion lights, security systems, barking dogs, and locked doors. Tolley’s statements only reinforced the importance of making sure that residents take the necessary steps to make their homes an undesirable target for would-be criminals. For more information and crime prevention tips, please visit  and click on the crime prevention link.

"Yesterday's arrest and ongoing investigation is an example of the positive results which can be achieved when technology and intelligence led policing strategies are combined with good old fashioned police work,” Said Criminal Investigation Lieutenant Scott Smith. “We remain committed to keeping our community safe and would like to remind residents that they can help us by keeping their doors and windows locked and take care not to store valuables in plain view for criminals to see and target during moments of opportunity."

Tolley was booked into Tempe City Jail and is currently facing 17 counts of Burglary, two counts of criminal trespass, ten counts of trafficking in stolen property, one count of Felony Arson and one count of Misdemeanor Arson.

Tolley, Michael

Tempe Police Department Burglary Prevention Tips
Don’t make it EASY for criminals!

Please call Police immediately if:
*A stranger with no legitimate business knocks on your door
*You see someone going door to door
*You see a stranger or strange vehicle in the alley
*You observe a stranger loitering (on foot, bike or vehicle)
*You hear dogs barking up and down the alleyway
*You observe any suspicious/concerning activity

Illegal entry was made in a majority of these cases through:
*Unsecured and unlocked gates, garages and vehicles
*Unlocked front and back doors
*Open windows and unlatched pet doors

Call 9-1-1 in an emergency!  Call Tempe Police Non-Emergency at 480-350-8311 to report suspicious or concerning behavior.  Thank you.