Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Rick Chance

The Robbery

Through the hot summer of 2002, Hungerford and Lemke continued to track Chance. Hungerford made multiple calls to Chance on her cell phone, leaving a nice trail for authorities to follow. Chance might have known something was amiss, because he never returned her calls, Hungerford told police later. They apparently talked at least once, because in early August Chance and Hungerford agreed to meet for dinner and went out on the town after. They played around with a statue in downtown Scottsdale. Chance tried to place a condom on the statue, Hungerford told police.

"And then it wasn't big enough, so he went and sketched out a penis with a pen on a piece of paper and taped it on the guy in Scottsdale," she said.

The relationship was getting cozier, Hungerford confessed, and a few nights later August 9, 2002 they met for dinner again. This time, according to Hungerford's confession, Rob Lemke would be waiting nearby when she suggested they go to a hotel. They had it all planned.

Chance & Hungerford under surveillance
Chance & Hungerford under surveillance

They met at Tempe's P.F. Chang restaurant and after dinner and drinks, Hungerford suggested they adjourn to the nearby Best Western motel. A surveillance camera took pictures of the couple as they checked in. Chance looks relaxed in his print shirt, leaning on the reception desk. Hungerford stands slightly apart from him, but she is also relaxed, one arm on the desk.

"Rick's probably thinking that he's gonna get sex," Hungerford told police when they showed her the photo during questioning.

When Hungerford and Chance got to their third-floor room, they kissed for a few moments and Chance lit a cigar while she went to the bathroom. Just as she had done at Chance's house, Hungerford phoned Lemke and told him where she was. She told police that they arranged to meet a few minutes later in the hallway. At this time, she asserts, no violence was planned.

Using the excuse of going out to get ice and a drink, Hungerford left Chance smoking his cigar in the room and met Lemke in the hallway. She never returned to the hotel room, she told authorities.

According to Hungerford, she stood in the hallway "not even a minute and just fidgeting around. And, uh, I peek around the corner and at some time I hear a pop and it scares me. . . . It sounded like a gunshot."

That claim, however, has been disputed by witnesses.

In her confession, Hungerford said Lemke, wearing a mask and gloves, confronted Chance in the room with the gun. He took the jewelry Chance kept in a black bag.

But a witness told police she heard a woman say, "Don't hurt him. He's not going to say anything," and then four gunshots. At first, the witness thought it was a dream. The woman, who was from Kansas City, told authorities she looked out through the peephole in her door and saw a man "standing in the hallway, as if standing guard." The police did not say whether she identified that man as Rob Lemke or another man.

With Chance dead or dying, the robbers placed a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the room and fled the hotel with their loot. They jumped in a Nissan Pathfinder and headed for Tacoma, Washington.

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