LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — Las Cruces Police say a 32-year-old man is accused of stealing mail in order to create a fake identity to purchase on truck and nearly a second one before he was taken into custody this week.
Richard Padilla, 32, is charged with one second-degree felony count of fraud more than $20,000, two third-degree felony counts of attempted fraud of more than $20,000, two fourth-degree felony counts of forgery, a fourth-degree felony count of identity theft and a fourth-degree felony count of possession of methamphetamine.
Las Cruces investigators believe Padilla stole or illegally obtained mail and used information inside — including a paper driver’s license and a social security number — to create a fake identity. Detectives say Padilla copied his driver’s license photo onto the paper driver’s license that was stolen, creating a realistic-looking temporary ID.
He went on to use the identification on September 8 to buy a 2020 Nissan Titan from a local car dealership. The Titan was worth at approximately $60,000. He was attempting to buy a 2020 Ford F-150, valued at roughly $40,000 from another dealership when LCPD detained him.
Investigators learned that Padilla also forged information to create a fake insurance document that was needed to complete the vehicle purchase. Police also suspect Padilla of using fake IDs to cash checks.
Padilla is also accused of renting a 2020 Chevrolet Colorado from Hertz Rental Car on July 15 and failing to return it. According to court documents, Padilla said he did not know the location of the truck at the time of his arrest Friday.
He is currently being held at the Doña Ana County Detention Center without bond.