Man Burglarized, Then Assaulted By Man Who Stops To Help

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It was a bad day for one camper near Tonto Basin Jan. 20. First, the man’s campsite was burglarized and then he got in a fight with one motorist who stopped to help, according to authorities.

Shane Wagstaff was camping in the Tonto Basin area and had gone for a hike. When he returned, he found his cell phone and other items were missing from camp, said Lt. Tim Scott with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

“Shane went down toward the library on Old Highway 188 in Tonto Basin and was trying to flag down people to use a phone to call 911,” he said.

About 10 p.m., a vehicle stopped and the driver let Wagstaff use his cell phone to call 911 and report the theft. While Wagstaff was on the phone with dispatch, an altercation reportedly started between a passenger in the vehicle and Wagstaff when Wagstaff accused the man of theft, Scott said.

The dispatcher heard the altercation and when the line went dead, sent deputies to the area to check on Wagstaff, Scott said.

When they arrived, the men in the vehicle had left, but Wagstaff was still near the library.

Deputies searched the area for the men and the vehicle and eventually spoke with the man that had had the alleged altercation with Wagstaff. They have yet to contact the driver of the vehicle for his side of the story, Scott said.

Scott said he spoke with the investigating deputy Tuesday and he is still looking for the driver.

The matter remains under investigation.

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