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DIGGING DEEPER: Technology, police work nabs suspect in 67 minutes

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Rene Molina

TUCSON (KVOA) - Identity theft and car busts go hand in hand. Thieves are looking for a quick way to make money by breaking into vehicles and stealing valuables. Police, on the other hand, have a difficult time identifying thieves.

However, Oro Valley police made an arrest shortly after a recent crime was reported.

Since the beginning of the year, Oro Valley has had more than 100 reported car break-ins. Police say this was a crime of opportunity with 90 of those vehicles were left unlocked.

OVPD investigated an opportunity that happened at an apartment complex near Pushe Ridge Near Oracle Road in August.

"A resident advised that his vehicle had been broken into and multiple items had been taken," Lt.  Matthew Horetski said.

 At 4:14 a.m. that day, the victim started getting alerts on his phone his credit cards were being used while he was being questioned by police.

"Technology was of great assistance in this case and allowed us to respond quickly and locate a suspect within in a matter of moments," Horetski said.

At 4:46 a.m.,  patrol officers were dispatched to a Circle K in Catalina.

They reviewed surveillance video of the suspect using the credit card and saw what he was driving.

At 5:11 a.m. while the officer was at the Circle K, Oro Valley police got a second notification that the card was being actively used at the self-serve car wash.

 At 5:23 a.m., an officer spotted the suspect's car.

The Digging Deeper Team obtained a copy of the officer's body-worn camera. A transcript of the conversation between the officer and the suspect is below:

Oro Valley PD officer: "Turnaround "

Suspect: " Sir, what am I doing wrong?"

Officer: " You're just being detained right now. "

Suspect: "For what though?"

Officer: "Huh?" 

Suspect: " For what though? "

Officer: " I will explain it in a second."

Officer:  "What's your name?"  

Suspect: "Rene Molina, I just got out of county, bro. I just bonded out."

Jail records showed Molina was booked into the Pima County Jail on Aug. 1 on drug charges. He bonded out the same day for $2,500.

Detectives said after searching his vehicle they located some items stolen from the victim's vehicle.

Officer: "You have the right to remain silent, you understand that?"

Suspect: "Yes" 

Officer:" Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law."  

Sixty-seven minutes after the initial report is taken, Molina was arrested and returned to the Pima County Jail.

Jail records showed Rene Molina is facing additional charges of burglary, fraud, identity theft, computer tampering and tampering with evidence. He is under no bond.

Sheena Cole lives in the apartment complex where police say Molina stole the credit cards from.

When she heard about the incident, she replied, "That's very shocking that usually doesn't happen around here at all."

Her advice to others, "The best thing is never leave your wallet in the car. No offense, it's his stupidity that he left his wallet in the car."

Cole added the victim was very fortunate police arrested the suspect and kept him from doing any more damage.

She said she has been the victim of identity theft when she lived in another state, and she added,  it's a nightmare.