POSTED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 5:53pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 5:56pm
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - An 18-year-old man arrested Feb. 3 with a stolen handgun and for cutting a catalytic converter from a Toyota pickup has now been charged along with another teenager for burglarizing at least two homes.
Eric Garcia and fellow 18-year-old Jesus Salas were charged with two counts each of aggravated burglary (armed after entering), conspiracy and larceny for their involvement in burglarizing homes on Myrtle Avenue and Kilbourne Hole Drive.
Garcia also faces charges of criminal damage to property and receiving stolen property.
At around noon on Friday, Feb. 3, Las Cruces Police were called to the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on north Main Street after someone saw a young man cut a catalytic converter from a Toyota pickup and leave the area in a Chevy Tahoe.
Just a few minutes later a Las Cruces Police officer stopped a Chevy Tahoe, driven by Garcia, in a parking lot along Northrise Drive. In the back seat of the Tahoe officers spotted the stolen catalytic converter and a battery-powered saw. Officers subsequently located a .38 caliber revolver, ammunition and credit cards that did not belong to Garcia.
Investigators determined that the revolver and the credit cards belonged to a Myrtle Avenue homeowner whose house was burglarized on Feb. 2. Upon further investigation, detectives found Garcia to be in possession of other weapons, jewelry and electronics that were reported stolen in previous weeks from homes on Kilbourne Hole Drive in Las Cruces and Raevin Court in unincorporated Dona Ana County.
Detectives determined that Garcia and Salas conspired to commit the Myrtle Avenue and Kilbourne Hole Drive burglaries. Garcia was arrested Feb. 3 and remains held without bond at the Dona Ana County Detention Center. Salas was arrested Wednesday morning and will be held on a $20,000 cash-only bond.