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Crime Trackers: News 4 Tucson viewers help deputies nab suspected thief

TUCSON – News 4 Tucson viewers who saw a story about a suspected purse thief recognized the suspect and called authorities.

Three weeks ago, Pima County Sheriff’s Department detectives said 30-year-old Ernest Arzate committed fraud by using stolen credit cards that were taken from a purse. That purse was stolen from a grocery store cart at the Safeway at Swan and Sunrise roads earlier this year.

Ernest Arzate/ Pima County Sheriff’s Department

Detectives arrested him and took him to jail. Arzate was booked on five felony charges, which includes two counts of computer tampering, one count of credit card theft and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Arzate was caught on camera walking out of a Walmart with a laptop in hand. Before that, he had purchased a PlayStation 4. Arzate spent over $1,000 of the victim’s money on their credit card.

News 4 Tucson viewers helped identify Arzate after the story aired on March 26. Viewers sent in a Facebook picture identifying the suspect caught on the surveillance video as Eddie Arzate. They ended up being correct.

The victim said she carried family photos inside her purse. She said they are irreplaceable. She also added that she felt violated.

She told News 4 Tucson, the person who originally stole her bag jumped into the green Volkswagen Beetle. That person is still outstanding.

The detective in the case said they are looking for another suspect or persons of interest.

Arzate is out of jail now.

If someone does see something happening whether it be on the news or in front of them, call 911 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call 88-CRIME.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.
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