The arrest of Justin Schultze, 18, at his parents’ home in Winslow this week brought to a close a bizarre crime spree that careened from the Valley to Show Low and points in between.
Navajo County sheriff’s deputies arrested Schultze Dec. 10 after his family called to say he wanted to turn himself in. He was booked into jail in Holbrook, as police from three counties worked to sort out assault, burglary and other charges.
Police had earlier arrested Christopher Goetschel, 18, of Winslow and a 17-year-old juvenile in connection with a string of car thefts and burglaries that climaxed when the teens apparently intentionally crashed into a sheriff’s car and then fled.
The string of crimes started during the week of Nov. 21 with a string of residential burglaries in the Blue Ridge area, according to the Coconino sheriff’s office. Investigators said they suspect the trio stole guns and cash from several houses.
The trio next tried to steal cars from a Show Low car dealership. Deputies interrupted the trio, who fled, leaving behind a car registered to the parents of one of the three teens together with identifications.
The now reckless teens then went careening through a series of crimes. They allegedly stole an SUV in Show Low, then swapped it for a truck. They drove the truck through a store window so they could steal alcohol and cigarettes.
They then returned to the car dealership and stole another SUV, apparently using keys they stole on their first expedition there. They reportedly then robbed another half dozen homes, to steal guns and alcohol.
Next, they drove to Glendale, to sell the guns. However, police tracked them using the OnStar locator system in the stolen SUV. Police closed in on the trio and used the OnStar system to disable the vehicle, but the teens fled on foot. Police found about 20 guns in the SUV. Then teens stole a SUV in Glendale and drove north. They stole a travel trailer in Camp Verde. However, as they sped north, a Department of Public Safety officer pulled in behind. One of the teens then released the travel trailer, which went swerving back down the road, thwarting the pursuit.
The teens ended up crashing the SUV into a tree in the Blue Ridge area, but escaped again — this time in a stolen off-road vehicle. They drove to Happy Jack Lodge, where they stole a pickup truck to continue their flight.
As they entered Winslow, deputies again gave chase. The trio fled down Highway 87, but reportedly swerved intentionally to crash into a Coconino sheriff’s car.