Two men arrested this month in the Serial Shooter case cruised the streets of Chandler two nights before their arrest and slowed down near bicyclists and pedestrians traveling alone.
But the suspects returned to their Mesa apartment when it started to rain and complained aloud that the downpour had ruined their night, a search warrant affidavit made public on Friday indicates.
"The suspect vehicle left and began to cruise the streets of the city of Chandler in a manner that would be described as suspicious," wrote Scottsdale detective Hugh Lockerby. "The vehicle approached several pedestrians and bicyclists that were alone."
Police arrested Samuel Dieteman, 30, and Dale S. Hausner, 33, at their Mesa apartment on Aug. 3. They are charged with 46 counts that include the slayings of 22-year-old Robin Blasnek on July 30 in Mesa and 20-year-old Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz on May 2 in Scottsdale.
Overall, police have linked seven random shooting deaths to the men over 14 months.
Lockerby, one of the detectives who kept the suspects under constant surveillance in Chandler, said the vehicle slowed down several times during the night when it approached "potential targets." He indicated the men drove away each time due to "constant vehicular traffic."
Police have previously said that undercover detectives were prepared to shoot and kill the suspects if they raised the .410-gauge shotgun that police allege was in the car. But rain came instead, and Dieteman and Hausner returned home.
"An undercover officer was hiding in nearby bushes and overheard a statement about the rain ruining the night," Lockerby wrote.
He indicated the men carried an item to and from their vehicle that night that was likely the shotgun that police later seized from the apartment.
The next day after the cruise through Chandler, undercover detectives observed Dieteman discarding a black plastic bag. Officers recovered the bag and found a Valley map inside that included red and blue marks that corresponded with previous shootings.
Officers also recovered a .410-gauge shotgun shell from the bag.
The affidavit, which includes large portions blacked out by investigators, also indicates that police searched a storage unit at 2850 E. McDowell Road in Mesa that Hausner rented.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James H. Keppel reviewed the search warrant affidavit on Friday and ordered prosecutors to unseal certain portions.
Keppel also ruled Friday that the trials for Dieteman and Hausner should remain in Phoenix. Defense attorney Garrett Simpson had previously requested that Hausner's trial be moved outside Maricopa County because of heavy media coverage of the case that might taint the jury pool.
Keppel said it’s too early to decide whether the people in the county have received too much information about the case to give Hausner a fair trial.
‘‘The time to decide whether there’s too much media coverage should be decided shortly before the trial,’’ Keppel said at a hearing Friday.