A theft ring stretching from Forest Lakes to Payson was broken up Tuesday, Nov. 10, when four people were arrested in connection with multiple burglaries in both towns.
David S. Chovanec, 41, Payson, was arrested on charges of possessing stolen property and false information; Robert W. Caruso, 40, Payson, possession of a stolen handgun and weapons misconduct; Steven A. Duncan, 47, Strawberry, and Martha L. Deason, 46, Payson, both on possession of stolen property charges.
Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the burglaries after three summer homes in the Forest Lakes subdivision were broken into between late September and early November, according to a press release from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
Among things taken were an ATV, a large screen TV, a handgun and DVD player from two homes in the subdivision.
Deputies developed a lead while working with U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers from the Apache Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests, who were investigating illegal camping in the Forest Lakes area. That led investigators to a home in the 700 block of Mazatzal Circle.
A Forest Service officer, members of the Gila County Narcotics Task Force and the Payson Police Department went to the home, located several stolen items and made the arrests.
Anna L. Oates, 42, Payson and Paul L. Gilbert, 38, were also arrested at the time on outstanding arrest warrants.
The following day, police returned with a search warrant and found “a substantial amount of property stolen from area burglaries,” the press release states.