Contributed Photo/Courtesy SPD: A Safford officer arrested Crystal Renee Sierra for theft after Sierra allegedly stole a swing set from her neighbor and put it up in her own yard. Sierra is also a person of interest in various burglaries from her neighbor’s property.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Crystal Renee Sierra, 30, of Safford, was arrested for theft after an officer located her neighbor’s metal swing set in Sierra’s yard. Sierra is one of the first defendants to be charged in the newly formed Gila Valley Consolidated Court, which meets in Safford and handles the caseloads of magistrate courts from Safford, Thatcher, and Pima. The new court went into effect Feb. 1.
According to a Safford Police report, on Saturday, Feb. 3, at about 9:24 a.m., a woman at a residence in the 1200 block of S. 7th Avenue informed an officer that she had a Maytag washing machine stolen from the residence Jan. 29 and then a swing set that was in the carport went missing Feb. 1.
The resident of the home said she heard some noise that morning at about 4:30 a.m. and discovered a neighbor, Sierra, and a male companion touching a barbecue grill that was on her porch next to her front door within her fenced yard.
The resident asked the couple what they wanted and Sierra allegedly asked if the grill belonged to anyone. The resident said the grill in her fenced yard next to her door was indeed hers and the couple left.
Afterward, the resident then drove by Sierra’s house in the 1300 block of S. 7th Avenue and saw the swing set that was previously in her carport disassembled and sitting along the fence line. She returned later and discovered the swing set had been assembled and was now fully in Sierra’s yard.
Upon questioning, Sierra said she had found the swing set on the curb next to the street and thought someone had thrown it away. When the officer informed her that the owner said it had been in her carport, Sierra denied that was where she took it from. She also denied taking the washing machine and having any interaction with the homeowner about her grill that morning.
At that point, the officer informed Sierra that she was also suspected of taking delivered packages from the same residence last year and that if she was found to have entered her neighbor’s property and removed anything from the fenced yard she could be charged with burglary.
Since there was no physical evidence of Sierra retrieving items from her neighbor’s property, the officer simply gave Sierra a citation for theft and released her at the scene with the caveat she returns the swing set. The officer then waited and watched as Sierra brought the swing set back to her neighbor’s yard.
The theft charge was later filed in the Safford Municipal Court area of the Gila Valley Consolidated Court.