'Operation Grinch Stopper' ends with 143 arrests in Ariz. - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

'Operation Grinch Stopper' ends with 143 arrests in Ariz.

Matthew Wendling; Thomas Burch; Cassandrea Dudley Matthew Wendling; Thomas Burch; Cassandrea Dudley

A fugitive enforcement operation conducted by state, local and federal law enforcement led to 143 arrests in Arizona this week.

During "Operation Grinch Stopper, authorities arrested seven people in Flagstaff, 82 people in Phoenix, 32 people in Tucson and 16 people in Yuma. A total of 265 warrants were cleared between Dec. 11 and 13.

The operation focused on people wanted for crimes that usually increase during the holidays, such as robbery, burglary, theft, larceny and other related stolen property crimes.

The goal of Operation Grinch Stopper was to find these "Grinches" and bring them to justice, and to hopefully prevent more property crimes by undetected thieves during the holidays.

One fugitive was found across state lines in Rapid City, SD on Wednesday. A suspect, 22-year-old Matthew Wendling was wanted in Pinal County and was arrested with the help of the Marshals Service in Arizona, North Carolina and South Dakota. Wendling faces charges of theft of a means of transportation and child abuse.

27-year-old Thomas Burch was arrested at his Chandler home when two operation members saw two stolen motorcycles in Burch's garage. After it was confirmed the motorcycles were recently stolen, he was taken into custody.

On Tuesday, 31-year-old Cassandrea Dudley was arrested in Tolleson for violating her parole. She was originally convicted of misconduct involving weapons and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. She was found at her home and taken into custody.

Operation Grinch Stopper was created in response to the shooting of Tucson Police Sgt. Robert Carpenter who was shot while responding to a burglary in November.

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