Arizona election worker seen stealing from Senate security desk day before election center theft: officials


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A temporary election worker in Maricopa County, Arizona, charged with stealing a digital magnetic key from a tabulation center has been linked to another theft from the state Senate building. 

The Arizona Department of Public Safety announced on Thursday that 27-year-old Walter Ringfield, of Phoenix, had been connected to a theft reported to a trooper assigned to the Capitol District on June 19 at the Arizona Senate Building in Phoenix. The development comes after authorities earlier in the week had identified Ringfield as the suspect in a June 20 theft from the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center. 

Troopers reviewed Senate security footage, which showed a suspect had entered a restricted area of the building and “removed numerous items from a security staff member’s desk,” DPS said. The stolen items included “challenge coins and other desk accessories,” according to the agency. 

Investigators later identified the suspect as Ringfield. A search warrant was ultimately served on his Phoenix residence, and detectives recovered the stolen items. 

ARIZONA ELECTION WORKER ACCUSED OF STEALING SECURITY DEVICE WAS HIRED DESPITE FELONY THEFT ARREST MONTHS PRIOR

Walter Ringfield mugshot (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

Ringfield faces new charges, including trespassing, theft and burglary, DPS said. 

The incident occurred just a day before Ringfield was seen on security footage allegedly taking the items shortly after 5 p.m. at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center. 

The video showed him approaching a desk and multiple tabulators, then taking a red wrist lanyard containing the security fob and keys, a probable cause statement obtained by Fox News Digital says. 

Detectives with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ringfield on June 21 outside his home in Phoenix on suspicion of theft and criminal damage. 

At the time, the probable cause statement says, they observed a red plastic item inside Ringfield’s car matching the description of the missing lanyard.

3 split thumbnail of walter ringfield taking security election equipment

Walter Ringfield was spotted on security footage removing a digital magnetic key from the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on June 20. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

ARIZONA ELECTION WORKER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING SECURITY DEVICE FROM BALLOT TABULATION CENTER

Officials said the tabulation center theft required that the election equipment be reprogrammed, costing taxpayers approximately $20,000. 

Ringfield also was arrested in September 2023 after allegedly stealing $1,800 from a register during the course of his shift as a grocery store cashier in Phoenix, according to another probable cause statement obtained by Fox News Digital. That document also lists a prior arrest for disorderly conduct and fighting. 

The September 2023 arrest resulted in Ringfield entering a felony diversion program. 

At a press conference on Tuesday, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates admitted that Ringfield had been in a felony diversion program, but said that information did not come up during a criminal background check conducted before he was hired as a temporary election worker. He vowed that the incident would not “have any impact whatsoever on the primary,” which is scheduled for July 30.
 

Supervisor Bill Gates holds security key during press conference

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates holds up a black security key as an example of one stolen from the tabulation center. (KSAZ)

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At Tuesday’s press conference, Maricopa County Sheriff Russ Skinner was asked if authorities had a reason to believe the theft from the ballot tabulation center was “politically motivated.” He said he could not speculate at this time, explaining that investigators “are still combing through a lot of digital evidence that were taken at the scene and going through items that were taken in the search warrant.” 

“We don’t have any indication at this point, but we’re not ruling it out. And we’re going to leave no stone unturned,” he said. 



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