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Top crime stories of the year

By Jennifer Amsler
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
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1. No Anchovies shooting

A UA student shot a Pima Community College student at No Anchovies in late August after a dispute about seating arrangements. Jacob Ochoa, a liberal arts freshman at the UA, approached Jordan Prather because Ochoa thought he was sitting in his seat. Ochoa's gun was exposed during the confrontation, and Prather and his friend wrestled Ochoa to the ground but not fast enough to escape gunshots. Prather was hit in the leg, but his injuries were non-life-threatening. According to witnesses, Ochoa tried to escape the restaurant after the gun fired, but everyone at the popular college hangout stopped him from escaping. "The patrons were the heroes - no question," one witness said. Ochoa was arrested and taken to Pima County Jail and Prather was treated for his injuries.

2. UMC-area prostitute bust

A man and two women were arrested late September after police concluded Angel's Heaven Relaxation Spa, 1740 E. Lester St., was used as a prostitution site. Several of the workers had no masseuse licenses, and police had to obtain search warrants on three different occasions to make the arrests. According to police, each spa worker was an "angel," and each had a name like "passion angel" and "alluring angel." John Lavorie, 48, was also arrested for operating without a license and hiring unlicensed employees. The three individuals were booked to Pima County Jail.

3. Two alleged rapists caught

Police caught two men this semester they believed were raping women in the UA area. Isreal Andrew Rivera, 20, was apprehended in November and linked him to several sexual assaults and robberies in the area. "He didn't match the textbook rapist," said Sgt. Carlos Valdez, Tucson Police Department spokesman. "He would randomly burglarize places and use the opportunity to commit assault." Police also arrested Daniel Lopez, 27, over spring break after receiving a tip that Lopez was loitering in the area. Lopez was charged with several counts, including sexual assault, burglary and aggravated assault.

4. UA football players

Several football players found themselves in trouble with the law last semester. Yaniv Barrett was charged with possession of marijuana twice in the span of a little more than a month. Paul Phillip was caught using a fake ID in October at O'Malley's bar on Fourth Avenue.

Although he had done nothing against the law, Sheldon Watts was in the wrong place at the wrong time at a midtown house party Oct. 10 when he was struck by a bullet. Watts remained in critical condition for days but survived the bullet wounds.

5. McKale indictment

Parking and Transportation Services Associate Director Gary Thompson and his son Clint Thompson, a former McKale Center employee, were indicted over spring break for burglary of truckloads of sporting equipment. Clint Thompson was arrested in October when a computer repair shop owner noticed something seemed fishy about the computers he brought in. Police went to his home and found thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia, clothing and equipment. Clint Thompson's entire family was indicted with burglary charges, and Gary Thompson is no longer employed with PTS.

6. Fraternity violations

Several fraternities received disciplinary action after police responded to complaints about loud parties and underage drinking. One fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, though they are not officially recognized by the UA, received a red tag, and President Jared Letzt was arrested for possession of cocaine with Vice President Jake Cohen, who was arrested for selling alcohol without a license, but charges were dropped soon after. Sigma Alpha Epsilon's spring bash in April also ended with a red tag and underage drinking citations to eight individuals outside the fraternity that afternoon.

7. Car thefts on the rise

About 24 percent more vehicles were stolen in 2004 than in 2003, and police estimated 2005 could be even worse. Just one month into the year, 17 cars were stolen from campus and if the pace continues, more than 204 cars could go missing this year. Zone 1 lots are more susceptible to theft than garages because criminals have easier access and are more likely to go undetected. All students were warned to take extra precautions such as remembering to lock cars and reporting suspicious activity.

8. Bear Down robbery

Four men and four juvenile males were arrested early April 19 for burglary and conspiracy when police found them under the stairwell in Bear Down Gymnasium. The eight individuals were trying to steal uniforms and other ROTC equipment. Police linked them with two other Bear Down Gym robberies the month before and found a Chinese rifle in one of their two vehicles. The men were booked at Pima County Jail, and the juveniles were taken to a detention center.

9. SAE student charged with kidnapping

Police responded to a rowdy party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in late February and saw a woman crying, limping and holding her arm. The woman said her boyfriend held her captive in a bathroom, grabbed her wrists so hard she "thought they might break" and choked her to the point where she thought she "was done for." The SAE student and his lawyer refused to comment on the incident.

10. Shower Violator

A man entered a community shower November in Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall and approached a woman who was showering. Police and students feared it was similar to a string of sexual assaults in 2002 when two men watched students shower on at least six other occasions. However, the next day, the man turned himself in to police and said he was just visiting a friend in the hall and did not mean to do anything threatening.

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