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MCAO News Releases

Posted on: November 26, 2018

Gabriel Tovar Sentenced to 12 Years for String of Purse Thefts Targeting Elderly Victims

PHOENIX— Gabriel Tovar (D.O.B. 06-11-1972) was sentenced today to 12 years in the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to one count of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices. The defendant was responsible for eight different burglaries where purses were taken from a victim’s vehicle.

“Despite prior grants of probation and periods of incarceration, this defendant has continued to commit crimes. Today’s sentencing is fitting for a defendant with four prior felony convictions who has repeatedly targeted and victimized elderly members of our community. He committed the present offense within six months of release from prison and while he was under supervision for a previous burglary,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Those advocating for criminal justice reform would do well to take this defendant’s case under consideration as an example of a prosecutor’s office utilizing our State’s repetitive offender sentencing statutes to safeguard the public and not as a default tool.”

Between the beginning of June and the end of July 2018 Tovar targeted older women who were alone at shopping centers in the West Valley. The defendant would contact the women either in the parking lots of the shopping centers or after following them home. Tovar would usually try to convince the victim there was something wrong with their cars and once the victim went to look for the bogus issue, Tovar would take their purse and leave in his truck. Tovar would then quickly use the victims credit or debit cards for purchases.

On July 31st Tovar was taken into custody by adult probation and interviewed about his involvement in these crimes. He admitted to investigators he was tricking women to take their purses.

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