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YCSO Logs UTV Fatality and ID Theft Suspect Arrest

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Area Commands MapSedona AZ (October 21, 2015)The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is advising the public of a second UTV fatality in as many weeks and an arrest in a Chino Valley debit card theft:

On October 18, 2015, at approximately 5:00 in the evening, YCSO was notified that Ryuji “Michael” Numata, 44, from Avondale, Arizona, was missing. Numata had been driving with a group of similar vehicles, in a remote area east of Interstate 17, off of Dugas Road in Yavapai County. At one point, Numata drove ahead and left the group. Later, Numata could not be found.

More than four hours passed before YCSO was contacted. Forest Patrol deputies called out the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team’s (YCSRT) 4×4 and Quad units who deployed around 7:30 p.m. to search for the missing man. A DPS Ranger helicopter was also requested for an air search, but unable to fly due to weather conditions.

The ground crews were not able to locate Numata during their search that night. Cell phone contact was unsuccessful and attempts to track his phone did not provide worthwhile information. Just after 8:00 a.m. the next morning, October 19, DPS Ranger was able to conduct an air search as the weather had cleared. Just before 10:00 a.m., the Ranger crew located an apparent UTV crash on the side of steep ravine in very heavy brush. The crew was able to land in the area and hike to the scene where they discovered Numata’s body pinned under his UTV.

Members of the YCSRT Backcountry and 4×4 Units assisted the DPS Ranger Crew to airlift the body from the crash site. Ground transportation at a landing zone delivered the body to the Medical Examiner’s office.

Initial reports indicate Numata was wearing his lap belt, but not the full upper body harness available for UTV users. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

In other YCSO news, the suspected burglar of an elderly person’s identification and money was arrested after an extensive follow through by a YCSO deputy:


Landscape worker and handyman, Nathan Lee of Prescott AZ, arrested for burglary, forgery and identification theft

On October 19, 2015, Nathan Lee, 37, of Prescott, Arizona, was arrested for charges including Burglary, Identity Theft, Forgery, and seven counts of Aggravated Identity Theft.

During the months of August and September 2015, suspect Lee worked as a landscaper and handyman for his victim, a 79-year-old Chino Valley resident. On September 5, 2015, the victim’s bank notified him of several possible fraudulent transactions on his debit card. When the victim checked his wallet, he discovered the debit card missing.

The deputy met with the victim at his banking branch to review a current account statement. The victim highlighted over $1000 in fraudulent purchases, including two debit card transactions at ATMs in Chino Valley, purchases at Walmart in Prescott Valley and Prescott, a ranch supply store in Prescott and a sporting goods store in Prescott Valley. He explained that the only person who had access to his wallet was Lee. The victim also admitted providing Lee with his debit card pin number in the past when Lee helped him gas up his car.

Over the next few weeks, the deputy followed up at the various businesses noted on the victim’s bank statement and obtained numerous video surveillance clips which showed a man resembling Lee using the stolen debit card.

On October 19, 2015, the investigating deputy located Lee at his Prescott home. Lee was interviewed and admitted to the theft and use of the victim’s debit card without permission. He was arrested and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center. He remains in the Camp Verde Detention Center on a $2500 bond.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or visit the YCSO website at www.ycsoaz.gov.

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1 Comment

  1. R. Kraft says:

    There’re accidents with devastating emotions on each person there that day and then you have a dirtbag ripping off the trusting which is a bad emotion that stays with that victim of terrible people like this.

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