Safford Police

SAFFORD — Calls handled by Safford Police officers on Saturday, Jan. 4 included a reported domestic violence incident, a traffic accident resulting in a warrant arrest, a shoplifting case and an alleged attempt to sell drugs.

The domestic violence suspect, identified as Matthew Barela, allegedly broke his girlfriend’s cell phone during an argument and dragged her out of the vehicle in which they were parked. According to a police report, three children were in the vehicle.

The woman reportedly told police she tried to run, but Barela took her to the ground. He allegedly kicked and punched her multiple times as she was on the ground; one of his blows was reportedly witnessed by the responding officer.

Upon the officer’s arrival, Barela fled on foot and jumped two fences. A search of the area failed to locate him. The police report was sent to the Safford City Attorney for charges of assault domestic violence, criminal damage domestic violence and disorderly conduct domestic violence.

Outstanding warrantWhile assisting Thatcher Police with an auto accident investigation, a Safford officer discovered a misdemeanor warrant on a passenger in one of the vehicles, identified as Michelle Mitchell. The warrant, out of the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, was confirmed by County Dispatch. Mitchell, 38, was arrested and booked into the Graham County Jail without incident.

ShopliftingPolice also sought a shoplifting suspect on Saturday. An officer was dispatched to Circle K, 1123 W. Thatcher Blvd.. Store surveillance video from Jan. 3 reportedly captured a male subject in a red polo shirt hiding items down his pants and leaving without paying. The subject reportedly returned for more Saturday and was again caught on video.

On Jan. 7, the case officer was shown video of Jan. 6 shoplifting at Walmart, in which the suspect was reportedly identified as Justin Pratt. Comparing the videos, police determined Pratt was the subject seen in Circle K. Shoplifting charges were pending contact with Pratt.

Suspicious activityAlso on Saturday, a Safford officer spoke with a caller who reported suspicious activity at a local bar. The man, who was heavily intoxicated according to the officer’s report, said another man tried to sell him a small bag of cocaine at Shane’s Place. He described the alleged dealer as a Hispanic male with a mustache, wearing a jacket and a black felt cowboy hat. The caller was unable to give a more detailed description.

Subsequent patrols of the Shane’s Place area found no signs of illegal or suspicious activity.

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