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Valley school photographer accused of sex crimes

The 29-year-old photographer had worked at various Valley schools. He was taken into custody this week for alleged sex crimes.

GILBERT, Ariz. — A Valley school photographer was arrested this week after investigators allegedly found incriminating evidence on his personal devices.

Robert Lagunas, 29, of Gilbert is accused of sexually exploiting a minor after police allegedly found explicit materials on his computer and phone.

Court records show Lagunas worked for a company that would take photos at various Valley schools.

An undercover investigator communicated with someone believed to be Lagunas in a chat application where the suspect allegedly discussed being attracted to underage girls. In this chat app, records show that Lagunas allegedly discussed being a school photographer.

Court records show the suspect was previously convicted in 2008 of "lascivious acts" with a child in California and was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

After investigators executed a search warrant on Thursday, Lagunas was taken into custody and booked into the Maricopa County jail. 

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What is the Valley?

“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest. 

The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:

  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Glendale
  • Surprise
  • Peoria
  • Gilbert
  • El Mirage
  • Avondale
  • Litchfield Park
  • Goodyear
  • Buckeye

Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.

The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas.

How big is Maricopa County?

Maricopa County is the United States’ 4th largest county in terms of population with 4,485,414 people, according to the 2020 Census.

The county contains around 63% of Arizona’s population and is 9,224 square miles. That makes the county larger than seven U.S. states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).

One of the largest park systems in the nation is also located in Maricopa County. The county has an estimated 120,000 acres of open space parks that includes hundreds of miles of trails, nature centers and campgrounds.

The county’s seat is located in Phoenix, which is also the state capital and the census-designated 5th most populous city in the United States.

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