Meat truck driver charged with false reporting
The Yavapai County Attorney's Office charged the driver of a meat truck reported stolen earlier this month with several charges including false reporting after a man said he gave the driver a ride from his stranded truck off Copper Basin Road back to downtown Prescott, a police spokesman said.
Prescott police booked Matthew S. Miller, 27, of Flagstaff, into the Camp Verde jail on charges of false reporting, criminal damage and forgery.
Miller, a sales representative and driver of the Bridgeford Quality Meats trucks, initially had told police someone stole his fully stocked truck before 12:30 p.m. March 3, while he stopped for 10 minutes to pick up pizza in the 100 block of south Cortez Street.
Miller told police he'd parked the truck in the first angled parking spot at the northeast corner of Union and Cortez streets, locked the door, and took both sets of keys when he left the truck. When he came back, the truck was gone.
Prescott police recovered the meat truck March 4, off Copper Basin Road about two miles west of Sierra Prieta Drive.
"The Sheriff's Office went up to the Thumb Butte area where it was stuck in the snow," said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department. "The truck had been hot wired. It doesn't appear there was forced entry into the back where it was refrigerated."
A man came to police after reading the story in The Daily Courier about the missing meat truck and said he'd given a man, whose truck was stuck in mud and snow on a dirt road off Copper Basin Road, a ride into downtown Prescott, Reinhardt said.
The man told police that the man, later identified as Miller, had said he was from Flagstaff and had a girlfriend in the area.
When Prescott Police put Miller, the meat truck's driver, in a lineup the man identified him as the person he'd picked up near the stranded truck, Reinhardt said.
Another man told police he ran into Miller near the stranded truck and gave them similar details, Reinhardt said.
"Often when people get into an accident, they'll report their vehicle as stolen," Reinhardt said. "In this instance, the driver got his truck stuck in a place he was not supposed to be."
The employer sent another truck from California to complete the missing truck's deliveries, and later picked up the truck reported stolen from the towing company's lot, Reinhardt said.
The company terminated Miller on Monday, March 22, Reinhardt said.
The forgery charge stemmed from Miller signing the affidavit that the truck was in fact stolen when he filed the report, Reinhardt said.