PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — Kyle Laderoot was walking into his high school prom in a designer tuxedo when police officers pulled him aside and began interrogating him about his attire. They had reason to believe the tuxedo was stolen.
Minutes later, the 18-year-old was led away from the dance in a police car on allegations that he broke a window at a northern Arizona store and stole the $600 tuxedo off a mannequin. He denied any theft, saying he bought the formalwear at a yard sale for $100.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Prescott Valley police are gathering more evidence at the request of prosecutors who declined late Tuesday to file charges in the case, Sgt. Brandon Bonney said. Laderoot would not have been arrested if police didn’t believe he was involved in the Friday burglary, Bonney said.
“It’s definitely going to be pursued,” the sergeant said.
Laderoot was booked into jail on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage but posted bond Sunday.
Newly graduated, Laderoot drove friends to the dance Saturday in Jerome, a historic copper mining town about 100 miles north of Phoenix. Police and the store owner were staking out the prom in search of the thief of the three-piece designer tuxedo that had specific markings on the inside, authorities said.
Laderoot said he was walking into the dance looking “cool” when the store owner spotted the tuxedo and police pulled him aside. He told authorities he happened upon the tuxedo at a yard sale Friday. He gave his keys to friends as police led him away.
Laderoot wasn’t able to give the location of the yard sale or say who sold it to him, according to a probable cause statement.
The teenager said he had nothing to do with the burglary but told authorities he was in the area at the time. He also said he had asked about renting the tuxedo on the mannequin when he went to the store with a friend who was renting a suit there.
Police say that incident tipped off the store owner to look for it at a prom. Prescott Valley police called local schools and found out that PACE Academy was holding its dance in Jerome.
The store owner didn’t return messages left by the AP.
Laderoot said the arrest ruined his night and his first prom.
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