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12:15 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Chino Valley man wanted for crimes against children found hiding out on boat in Florida

Robert Joseph Van Gundy

Robert Joseph Van Gundy

Federal authorities say a man wanted in Chino Valley for crimes against children has been arrested in Florida, and will soon be extradited back to Arizona.

The Miami Herald reported this past week that U.S. Marshals Service officials took 29-year-old Robert Joseph Van Gundy into custody Aug. 28 in Miami, Fla. An arrest warrant was issued Aug. 14 for Van Gundy after he failed to appear in Yavapai County Superior Court in Prescott.

Penny Cramer, with the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, said the office is currently in the process of extraditing Van Gundy from Florida on a number of charges, including luring a minor for sexual exploitation, multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation of a minor.

Authorities learned Van Gundy was hiding out in the Miami area with his wife, Arielle Van Gundy, who had been reported missing by her family. Authorities surprised and arrested the couple at about 3 p.m. as they walked toward their 31-foot sailboat at Dinner Key Marina, U.S. Marshal spokesman Barry Golden said.

Van Gundy and his wife reportedly drove 3,000 miles across the United States to South Florida, stayed at a Hialeah motel and bought the sailboat for $4,000 about a month ago, Golden said.

The Herald reported that authorities suspected the fugitive couple of being part of an anti-government, anti-law enforcement group and believed that they had guns and ammunition inside the boat.

"We took extreme precaution," Golden said. On Aug. 29, federal agents found four assault-type rifles, a handgun and about 3,000 rounds of ammunition inside the sailboat, along with a stockpile of food, the Herald report stated.

U.S. Marshals, Miami police, and the Miami-Dade Sexual Predators and Offenders Unit conducted surveillance near the marina for a day prior to the arrest, the Herald reported.

Arielle Van Gundy was arrested after authorities found a small handgun in her purse. She does not have a concealed weapons permit in Florida.

The couple is being held at a Miami-Dade jail and will be extradited to Arizona, Golden said.