MARICOPA — A months-long investigation into two burglaries in the Acacia Crossings neighborhood has ended in an arrest after investigators positively matched fingerprints at the scene to a local man.

The fingerprints were lifted off a window screen and window of a home on Alamendras Street burglarized on March 27. The culprit made off with 10 items totaling about $3,885. Another home on Gavilan Drive was also burglarized.

On Dec. 12, investigators received a positive ID for the fingerprints, of 19-year-old Michael Avitia.

Police made contact with Avitia at a park in the area and interviewed him. He told police he was “trying to help some people.” He reportedly admitted to watching homes in the community and identified two as easy targets to burglarize. He stated he knew when the residents of the homes would leave for work and saw that they both had nice vehicles, which led him to believe they owned expensive property inside both residences.

Avitia reportedly told police he gained entrance to the first home on Alamendras Street by throwing a rock at the back window. He first attempted to open the windows by removing the screens, which is where his fingerprints were found. He used a crowbar on the rear sliding glass door of the other home located on Gavilan Drive.

Avitia stated he had told a “crew” from Phoenix about the homes in Maricopa being easy targets for theft. He told police the crew paid him $100 to burglarize the homes and turn the stolen goods over to them. He did not identify any of the crew members and stated they only went by nicknames.

On Jan. 7, Avitia was arrested on two charges of second-degree burglary.

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Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at ksawyer@pinalcentral.com.

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