Phoenix PD: No preferential treatment in search for councilman's sunglasses

Phoenix police are going to great lengths to track down a city councilman’s sunglasses but is it the best use of the police department’s resources?

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Police Department said it did not provide any preferential treatment to a city councilman when he called to report his pair of prescription sunglasses had been stolen in the men's bathroom of a public library.

"I think he got good service, but I don't think it was exceptional," said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, a spokesperson for the department. 

On Aug. 3, Councilman Jim Waring told police he went inside the men's bathroom at the Mesquite Library, a branch of the Phoenix Public Library, located near Paradise Valley Mall. Before entering a stall, Waring said he placed some mail and a $300 pair of prescription sunglasses on the counter.

According to a police report, Waring was inside the stall when another man entered the restroom for a short period of time and then left. When Waring exited the stall, he noticed his sunglasses were no longer where he had placed them.

The report states an officer, lieutenant and sergeant responded to the scene and began interviewing staff and witnesses, as well as reviewing security camera footage.

"(Waring) never asked for special service. The service he got was based on police investigation and the evidence that provided itself," Sgt. Howard said.

Security footage from the mall revealed a possible suspect seen driving out of the parking garage. Detectives tracked down the owner of the vehicle and after further review, determined he was not the suspect. 

A hat possibly belonging to the suspect was found in the library and has been submitted for DNA testing. 

"In this case, it has not been analyzed and suspect has not been identified yet," Sgt. Howard said. 

Phoenix police said they have a duty to collect any and all evidence and further review will determine whether the items are actually tested, as well as their placement in the DNA analysis list.

City of Phoenix spokesperson Julie Watters provided this statement to 12 News:

"On August 3, Councilman Waring was the victim of a crime as his prescription sunglasses were stolen.  As any resident should do, he called the police and reported it. Our police department expects anyone who might be in this situation to do the same thing. The person who calls the police does not determine how officers should respond, those decisions are made by the police based on the evidence presented to them.”

The investigation is ongoing and the department stated the testing of the hat will not take precedence over the DNA testing of other more serious criminal materials, including rape kits and homicides.

"The councilman did exactly what we would expect him or any other resident to do," Sgt. Howard said. "If you are a victim of a crime, you not only have a right, but a responsibility to submit that to police."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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