Suspect identified in vehicle theft spree near scene of Pinnacle Fire

Christopher Riley (MCSO)

A man is in custody after he allegedly stole multiple vehicles and crashed an ATV-like vehicle in a desert area where a brush fire occurred.

According to court documents, Christopher Riley, 35, is facing charges of theft, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, criminal damage, and obstruction.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said the incidents happened around 3 p.m. Sunday near Jomax and Dysart roads.

MCSO was initially responding to a domestic violence situation near Happy Valley Road and Vistancia Boulevard. When deputies arrived, MCSO learned a man in his 30s had assaulted a female victim. Court documents state deputies attempted to make contact with the suspect, but he fled on foot.

However, it was later learned he was driving a vehicle stolen out of Tempe but it ran out of gas. The suspect then allegedly stole a Polaris RZR from a residence about a half a mile from where the female victim was assaulted.

The suspect later flipped the Polaris over near Dysart and Jomax roads. He then allegedly carjacked a woman who stopped to help him. MCSO said it was around that time that a brush fire started near the Polaris. An official cause was not known.

Court documents state the victim was dragged as the suspect drove the vehicle. She sustained minor injuries but was cleared by medical personnel.

The suspect fled that scene and went to a neighborhood near 147th Avenue and Oberlin Way in Surprise. At one residence, he was unsuccessful in trying to steal a dirt bike. He then broke into another home  and tried to steal a vehicle. However, he broke a gear shift and fled into the garage.

MCSO and its K-9 unit were able to take the suspect into custody without issue inside the garage. The suspect was bit by one of the K-9s around the thigh area and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

MCSO said the suspect was not being cooperative with deputies and they didn’t have an identification by Sunday night. However, court documents released Monday for Christopher Riley detail the incidents leading to the arrest.

Mr. Riley was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond.

No charges appear to have been filed regarding the brush fire, dubbed the Pinnacle Fire, which grew to 133 acres and was 75% contained as of Monday, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.