More details revealed about theft incident at the Maricopa County Elections building

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is detailing more on a theft incident at the Maricopa County Elections Building that led to the arrest of a 27-year-old man.

In a new statement, investigators allege that Walter Ringfield was captured on surveillance footage at the elections building taking a security fob and keys at around 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.

"The video shows him approaching a desk with multiple tabulators and taking a red scrunchy wrist lanyard containing the security fob and keys," read a portion of the statement. "Ringfield placed the lanyard in his shorts pocket after briefly stretching."

Ringfield, per the statement, denied the theft when he was being confronted by his employer, but then "suggested the lanyard might be in his car ‘if’ he had mistakenly taken it."

"A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed a red lanyard and a matching plastic tag, but the fob remained missing," read a portion of the statement.

Walter Ringfield

Walter Ringfield

Investigators say Ringfield was arrested at his home on June 21. Detectives also found "a red plastic item consistent with the missing lanyard inside his vehicle."

Authorities found the digital key fob in his bedroom.

"Ringfield admitted to taking the fob but claimed he returned it after approximately 20 minutes, citing a desire to ‘clean up’ in hopes of securing a permanent employment position at MCTEC," read a portion of the statement.

Investigators say Ringfield was a temporary worker assigned to the ballot tabulation center. He worked with staff on the logic and accuracy testing of the machines.

Following his arrest, the building is reprogramming the equipment – a move that will cost an estimated $20,000.

"We are going to act upon it. We are going to act strongly. We are going to get to the bottom of it, and we are going to make sure if there’s someone else who decides to do something like this, we will be on the phone with the sheriff again. We’re not messing around here," said Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates.

Gates says early Friday is when staff noticed something was awry.

"At the beginning of each day, we do an inventory check and make sure we have these black security keys. We did that on Friday morning. We found that one was missing," he said.

That’s when staff members say they started talking to workers and scanning through surveillance video.

The fob is a small piece of equipment part of a multi-layered process to turn on a tabulator machine. Gates says it was out that day for testing ahead of the July primary.

"With this alone, no one, no nefarious actors would be able to turn on the tabulation machine. As you can imagine, I’m not getting into the other steps involved, but know that this alone would not be able to turn on a tabulation machine," Gates explained.

Court records show Ringfield has a previous criminal charge of theft but participated in the felony diversion program.

"When we did that criminal background check, we did not find this because he was on diversion," Gates said.

In the meantime, Maricopa County Sheriff Russ Skinner says his office is combing through Ringfield’s cell phone and laptop data.

So far, he says his detectives haven’t found anything suggesting it was politically motivated or involved conspirators. The investigation is not over.

"We are going to leave no stone unturned. We are going to make sure that we do evaluate all the evidence that was out there," Sheriff Skinner said.

Ringfield is being held in the 4th Avenue Jail. He’s accused of theft and criminal damage tampering.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.