BY LINDA BENTLEY | AUGUST 1, 2012
Burglary suspects arrested in Cave Creek
Residents should be wary of anyone they don’t know knocking on their door unexpectedly
CAVE CREEK – Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating a rash of burglaries in the Cave Creek, Carefree and New River areas.
MCSO Detective Steve Horath said most of the time the suspects live in Phoenix or beyond and travel into these nicer communities to commit their crimes. And, he said, it seems that each time a group of criminals are arrested for a series of burglaries, other bad guys take their place.
On the morning of July 17, MCSO responded to a call on East Prickly Pear Lane in Cave Creek, where two men pulled up in a gray colored SUV.
According to the victim’s account, the bald man got out of the SUV and started looking around, while the other man waited in the vehicle before they both left.
The two returned minutes later. This time, the bald man walked around the house and entered a private, locked courtyard by going over a short fence. Meanwhile, the driver waited in the vehicle with the engine running.
The homeowners’ daughter hid in a closet and called 911.
She told deputies she heard tapping on the glass windows in the front of the house with what sounded like a hard object and the dogs were barking non-stop.
While the man walked around to the side and then the rear of the home in an apparent attempt to make entry, Sgt. Allen Tigges arrived on the scene.
The driver was identified as Michael Hunter Wallen, 46, while the bald man, later identified as Bradley Mark Sullivan, 49, was seen by Tigges walking near the fence of the rear and side yard.
As responding deputies arrived, Sullivan returned to the area of the SUV, which, according to the incident report, smelled heavily of marijuana, as did both suspects.
It was then determined Wallen was found to be driving a rental car without the required ignition interlock device as stated on his restricted license.
The vehicle was rented at around 4 a.m. that same day by Sullivan’s girlfriend at Dollar Car Rental at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, using Sullivan’s Visa card. Sullivan was also listed as a second driver on the rental contract.
However, both men stated they lived in Surprise, a long distance from Sky Harbor. When asked, they told deputies they always rent their cars there.
When deputies questioned why they were at the residential property, Sullivan claimed he was a handyman and was pricing out some homes that were not on a shared well. He said he had a client and kept notes on properties they had been looking at for the buyer.
When asked for more details, it became apparent the suspects had no reason to be on the victim’s property and his story made no sense.
The note pad, in which Sullivan claimed to be taking notes, contained no information to corroborate his story; there were no addresses, no phone numbers or any MLS information.
Additionally, there was no writing instrument located anywhere in the vehicle or in either of the suspects’ possession.
After Sullivan was seated back in the passenger side of the car, he was seen shoving a blue pry bar under the front passenger’s seat.
Patrol deputies stated blue paint transfers were found at the scene of two other recent burglaries in the area.
Many other tools, gloves and walkie talkies were found within the suspect’s vehicle.
Sullivan was also found to be in possession of what was field tested and confirmed to be marijuana in his front pants pocket.
While he later admitted to possession of marijuana and trespassing, Sullivan claimed he did not attempt to burglarize the home.
Wallen invoked his Miranda rights and gave no comments.
Both men were taken into custody.
Sullivan was charged with marijuana possession/ use, drug paraphernalia possession/use, criminal trespass in the 1st degree-looking in and burglary in the 2nd degree.
Wallen was charged with criminal trespass in the 1st degree-looking in, burglary in the 2nd degree and an ignition interlock device violation.
Both men have extensive criminal records and have spent extensive time in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).
Sullivan has spent most of his life in prison. Records indicate he was first sentenced to ADC in 1983, when he was 20 years old.
After being found guilty in 1996 of burglary in the 2nd degree and theft, both class 3 felonies, with dangerous, repetitive and enhanced punishment allegations, Sullivan was sentenced to 18 years and 15 years, respectively, to be served concurrently.
He was released in July 2007.
In July 2001, Wallen was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for theft of a means of transportation, a class 3 felony, with a prior class 3 felony theft conviction in 1995.
Wallen was arrested again in 2009 on a warrant for failure to appear for his initial arraignment in October 2007 on a charge of aggravated DUI with a passenger under 15.
He eventually pled guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated DUI with a repetitive designation and was sentenced in March 2010 to one year and nine months in prison.
Wallen, who has been in and out of prison since at least 1995, was most recently released in June 2011.
Horath said residents should be wary of anyone they don’t know knocking on their door unexpectedly and then asking for a person’s name or directions, which has been the most common MO for burglars, who simply knock on doors to find out if anyone is home and what they ask if someone answers.
He also said if anyone does encounter such an event to note a description of the suspects, their vehicle and license number.
MCSO is working on a plan to enable citizens to provide information to the sheriff’s office in real time to help get these criminals off the streets.
In the interim, contact MCSO at 602-876-1742 to report any suspicious activity.