Jesus Salas, 29, was caught as he tried to run from the Maryvale home of Linda Tims about 7 a.m. Tuesday. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Linda Tims. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Phoenix Police Officer Glenn Branham. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Phoenix police said a man was caught Tuesday morning as he tried to burglarize a home being renovated by a good Samaritan Phoenix police officer and his friends.
Jesus Salas, 29, was caught as he tried to run from the Maryvale home of Linda Tims about 7 a.m. Tuesday, Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said.
Salas was holding copper pipe when officers arrived and had removed a window air conditioner that had just been installed by Officer Glenn Branham and friends he recruited to help clean out and fix up Tims' home that had been damaged by previous criminal activity.
Tims' plight and the unselfish acts of Branham, et al., were featured on CBS 5 News on Aug. 22.
Tims' unoccupied home was initially burglarized Aug. 17 after she was forced to move in with her daughter. Her air conditioner had been damaged by thieves who were after the copper piping.
On his own time, Branham began cleaning Tims' house. He and some friends and other volunteers he recruited replaced the stolen copper pipes, fixed the air conditioning and help clean out the house from years of hoarding. Branham spent his own money to replace the pipes, Holmes said.
On Saturday, Aug. 23, Branham and about 20 friends and family started to get the home ready for renovation.
The next day, about 7 a.m. while on patrol, Branham drove by Tims' house only to find that someone had again broken in and stolen about $1,000 of her personal property.
Branham asked officers in the Maryvale district to occasionally check the house while on patrol, Holmes said.
It was 7 a.m. Tuesday when officers on patrol heard something in the backyard and found Salas holding the copper pipes. He had cut the pipes to remove the air conditioner and was stealing several new lock sets that had been donated to Tims, Holmes said.
He ran, but was captured by waiting officers in a nearby alley.
Investigators said they found some evidence that could link Salas to the Aug. 24 burglary.
He was booked into jail on two counts of felony burglary, felony criminal damage, felony trafficking in stolen property and misdemeanor theft.
Holmes said the burglaries were a setback for Tims, Branham and his friends, but the renovation efforts would continue.
Branham estimated the restoration will take a few months to complete at a cost between $60,000 and $70,000. He said he's hoping others will donate time, money and materials.
Angels on Patrol is helping out with new furniture and some building materials and a number of Valley businesses have already come on board to help, Holmes said.
Tims' daughter has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with the expenses.
If you'd like to volunteer your time or donate materials to this renovation project, send an email to email@example.com and your information will be given to Branham and Tims.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.