Maricopa County temp worker arrested for alleged theft at election center

The temporary worker was on probation for a prior felony.

Published: June 24, 2024 3:09pm

Updated: June 24, 2024 3:11pm

A temporary worker at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) was arrested for theft, forcing the county to reprogram its security equipment, which will cost around $20,000.

On Friday, Walter Ringfield, 27, who was on probation for a prior felony, was arrested for allegedly stealing a security fob and keys from MCTEC, KTAR News reported. Ringfield was booked on charges of theft and criminal damage.

MCTEC released a statement to ABC15 on Monday, saying, "Maricopa County Elections has referred a matter to law enforcement that involves an alleged theft of an item by a temporary election worker from the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.

"On Friday morning, when completing a daily inventory, Maricopa County elections workers identified that an item was taken from the Ballot Tabulation Center on Thursday evening, and staff took immediate action to investigate the matter and contacted the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office," the statement continued. "The stolen item has been recovered but to ensure the integrity of Maricopa County Elections, election workers are reprogramming and re-conducting logic and accuracy testing of all equipment."

According to video surveillance footage, Ringfield took the fob and keys on Thursday.

“On the desk there was a red scrunchy wrist lanyard with a security fob and keys attached,” according to the arrest warrant, per KTAR News. “Walter stops at the desk, grabs the lanyard with security fob and continues walking. Walter then puts the security fob and lanyard into the right pocket of his shorts.”

While conducting a search of Ringfield's Phoenix home on Friday, detectives found the wrist lanyard in his car and the fob in a bedroom dresser.

The fob is used for securing tablets at MCTEC.

“A director at the facility stated that the estimated cost of the reprogramming would be greater than $19,000 dollars, and the secure operation of the facility is greatly impeded until the reprogramming is complete,” according to the probable cause statement report, per KTAR News.

Ringfield said he was fired from his job at MCTEC because “they thought he stole something,” according to ABC15.

“Walter stated his reason for taking the fob was because he wanted to ‘clean up,’” per the probable cause statement, reported KTAR News. “Walter said the job was temporary and he was trying to make it permanent, so he wanted to clean up.”

Maricopa County is preparing for its July 30th primary election, and early voting starts July 3rd.

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