Burglary suspects arrested

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Three suspects who police say were involved in a residential burglary before shooting at a neighbor were arrested on aggravated assault and aggravated burglary charges.

Valencia County sheriff's deputies said the suspects, Joshua Adams and Jeremy Hicks, both 24 and of Belen, broke into a house on Morgan Road last week and shot at a neighbor when he blocked the suspect's vehicle in the driveway.

Brandi Heald, 15, also of Belen, was also arrested in connection with the case.

Along with a television, a game console, and nearly all of the homeowner's jewelry, the victims reported that a fireproof security box filled with their adopted children's original birth certificates and other "irreplaceable" documents were stolen.

Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard said Heald and Adams were arrested at Walmart in Belen about noon on Sunday. Hicks was arrested at a family member's house in Los Chavez on Friday night.

Burkhard said Heald and Adams were both out on bond for an unrelated case in December. He said detectives think the three could be involved with a burglary in Jarales the same week.

According to sheriff's deputies, Hicks and Adams are suspected in several other property crimes and auto thefts in the Valencia County area.

In March, Hicks led New Mexico State Police on a high-speed chase of speeds of up to 100 mph, and crashed a stolen Honda Civic he was driving in a ditchbank near Andres Sanchez Road.

In that case, police found a .38-caliber automatic handgun with two fully-loaded magazines and a box of ammunition, according to the complaint. There were also two bags of heroin, two syringes with needles and two glass pipes in the vehicle.

On Friday night, homeowner and burglary victim Denise Jaramillo got personal documents back that were taken in the burglary. The documents included original birth certificates and photos of her two adopted children who are from Ukraine and China.

"We are elated," Jaramillo said. "We are excited. We don't know where the items were seized, but we got them back."

Jaramillo said the family has not yet gone through all of the documents, but said they recovered "the bulk" of what was missing.

The items were originally in a box similar to a safe, an item that was not returned.

She said recovering the documents was "a miracle," and that she thought the items could have been damaged or ended up in a remote area where they would have never have been found.

Jaramillo said the neighbor who intervened is their "hero," and she thanked Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard and his deputies for the "amazing job" they did handling the incident.

She said the community's support meant a great deal to the family.

"Our family is touched and blessed by the entire ordeal," Jaramillo said.

Burkhard said detectives followed up on leads and "stayed with it" to come up with the arrests over the weekend. He said deputies found the box's contents in Hick's possession on the night he was taken into custody.

The sheriff said getting the suspects into custody was a high priority after he learned that the neighbor had been shot at.

He spoke with detectives over the weekend to encourage them to work hard on the case.

"I called them up and told them to do whatever it takes to take them into custody," Burkhard said.

Hicks and Adams are both being held at the Valencia County Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Both are charged with larceny, criminal damage to property, conspiracy, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, breaking and entering and aggravated burglary.

Heald is in the custody of the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center.

According to a police report, the neighbor parked his pickup in the driveway of the home being burglarized, blocking the suspect's vehicle, which was trying to leave the scene about 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 7.

The man parked his 2004 white Chevy Silverado in the driveway after he saw two men walking outside the front door with household items in their hands.

The report said when the neighbor refused to move, the driver of the maroon four-door car pulled out a handgun and fired two rounds at the neighbor. The bullets hit the upper portion of the hood of the pickup and the front bumper.

It is unknown whether Hicks or Adams were driving the car.

Shortly after, the man moved his pickup and the suspect vehicle sped out of the driveway and hit the driver's side door and broke off the rearview mirror.

The neighbor did not suffer serious injuries.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.