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4:51 AM Wed, Nov. 14th

Chino Valley PD assists U.S. Marshals in arresting Kansas man accused of child sex offenses

CHINO VALLEY - Local law enforcement in Chino Valley assisted federal officials in the investigation that led to the Wednesday, March 4, arrest of a Kansas man wanted on three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

John Thomas, 48, of Kansas, was wanted by police in Riley County, Kansas, since February when officers obtained a warrant for his arrest on allegations he had possessed numerous images of child pornography.

Authorities believe he fled Kansas to avoid prosecution. However, when authorities learned he may have been in Yavapai County and had plans possible to continue fleeing to avoid capture, U.S. Marshals called on the assistance of the Chino Valley Police Department in locating and arresting Thomas.

"This child predator and others like him are a priority in our investigative efforts," U.S. Marshal David P. Gonzales said. "In spite of the efforts of fugitive sex offenders to avoid arrest and prosecution, the U. S. Marshals Service prioritizes the apprehension of these fugitives. Finding and arresting these individuals ensures that they cannot victimize any other children."

U.S. Marshals arrested him while leaving a residence in a vehicle near Autumn Lane in Chino Valley. Authorities said Thomas had dramatically changed his appearance and was taken into custody without incident.

He was booked into the Yavapai County jail pending extradition to Riley County.