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For Immediate Release

December 14, 2012 Amelia Swenhaugen, Deputy U.S. Marshal
District of Arizona – Phoenix (602) 828-8349
U.S. Marshals "Operation Grinch Stopper" Results in 143 Arrests State-Wide

Phoenix, AZ - From December 11-13, 2012, the U.S. Marshals Service in Arizona along with other State, Local and federal law enforcement agencies conducted “Operation Grinch Stopper.” This fugitive enforcement operation targeted those wanted for crimes which historical increase during the holidays to include robbery, burglary, theft, larceny and other related stolen property crimes. Operation Grinch Stopper resulted in the arrests of 143 fugitives state-wide. The goal behind this enforcement initiative is to not only locate and bring those wanted for property crimes to justice, but to also aid in the prevention of additional property crimes by undetected fugitives during the holidays.

“Historically, those fugitives wanted for property related crimes who remain at large continue to commit crimes in our cities, towns, and neighborhood’s,” said David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona. “This operation is strategically timed around the holiday season when property crimes typically increase, with the interest being to provide the community with a sense of safety and security for not only their belongings, but also for themselves and loved ones.”

Operation Grinch Stopper netted 143 arrests out of Arizona and cleared 265 warrants, with 7 arrests in Flagstaff, 82 arrests in Phoenix, 32 arrests in Tucson, and 16 arrests in Yuma.

Those apprehended during the enforcement operation included the following:

Matthew Wendling, 22, was arrested on December 12, 2012 during Operation Grinch Stopper in Rapid City, South Dakota, on a warrant issued November 21, 2012, by Pinal County Superior Court. Charges included one count of theft of a means of transportation and two counts of child abuse. Investigative efforts and collaboration between the Marshals Service in the District of Arizona, North Carolina and South Dakota led to Wendling’s arrest, without incident.

Thomas Burch, 27, was arrested at his residence in Chandler, when Operation Grinch Stopper Participants came upon two stolen motorcycles in Burch’s garage. Both motorcycles where checked for a registered owner and were discovered to have recently been reported stolen. Burch was taken into custody, and the investigation regarding the stolen property continues.

During Operation Grinch Stopper, participants prioritize fugitives with extensive criminal histories who continue to commit crimes within our communities. Additionally, Operation Grinch Stopper Participants often encounter individuals wanted for other crimes to include violent crimes such as:

Cassandra Dudley, 31, was arrested on December 11, 2012, by Operation Grinch Stopper Participants in Tolleson, AZ. Dudley was wanted by the Arizona Department of Corrections for violating the conditions of her parole. Dudley was convicted of Misconduct Involving Weapons and was sentenced to 2.5 years in Prison. Dudley attempted to hide in her residence but was ultimately discovered and taken into custody without incident.

U.S. Marshals Service District of Arizona Chief Deputy Fidencio Rivera stated, “Operation Grinch Stopper, a state-wide fugitive operation, was created in response to the recent shooting of Tucson Police Sgt. Robert Carpenter who was shot during a response to a burglary on November 18, 2012. Fortunately, despite his injuries Sgt. Carpenter survived this ordeal.”

Operation Grinch Stopper involved numerous law enforcement officers from several contributing agencies throughout Arizona to include the following in the Phoenix metropolitan area: U.S. Marshals Service, Glendale Police Department, Scottsdale Police Department, Arizona Department of Corrections, Surprise Police Department, Maricopa County Adult Probation, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, El Mirage Police Department, Goodyear Police Department, Peoria Police Department, Buckeye Police Department, Avondale Police Department, Phoenix Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department, Gilbert Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Apache Junction Police Department, Pinal County Probation, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Eloy Police Department, Maricopa Police Department and Casa Grande Police Department.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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