Las Cruces Teens Charged in String of Car Burglaries

Crime
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Three Las Cruces teenagers are facing charges after police allege they’d gone on an early morning burglary spree in West El Paso that ended after a short police chase.

El Paso Police were dispatched to the 7-11 store on S. Resler to reports of an attempted assault/man with a gun just after 3 a.m. Responding officers attempted to stop the suspect vehicle, but the driver refused to stop. 

Eventually, police were able to take the three occupants, identified as Joseph Barela, 17, Leonardo Avalos, 17, and Saul Garcia, 18, into custody. 

During a search of the vehicle, police say they recovered a black Taurus 9mm handgun and 9.62 grams of THC. Officers were also able to locate stolen property that was taken from at least two other car burglaries earlier in the evening.

EPPD say the three teens broke into a Mazda 6 and a Chrysler van before the incident at the 7-11. 

The trio are facing several charges associated with the alleged burglary spree:

  • Joseph Barela – Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, Possession of Controlled Substance and two counts of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.  Bond: $27,500.
  • Leonardo Avalos – Two counts of Engaging in Organized Activity. Bond $10,000
  • Saul Garcia – Evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle, two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. Bond: 12,500.

Burglary of vehicle cases on the Westside are down 29% compared to this time period last year, according to EPPD. So far, there have been 116 cases reported in 2018 and there were already 164 cases reported at this time last year.

EPPD continues to encourage drivers to secure their vehicles and take all valuables inside. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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