Rio Communities man arrested for stealing heating and cooling units

........................................................................................................................................................................................

A 49-year-old Rio Communities man has been charged with one count of larceny after police said he stole two heating and cooling units from a local gym.

Belen Police Detective Sgt. Joe Portio said the man, Andrew Najar, was arrested and charged with larceny Dec. 19 after the man's neighbor saw the units in the back of his truck in his driveway on Maddox Loop in Rio Communities.

The units matched the description of two units that were stolen from Extreme Fitness, a business along Reinken Avenue, he said. The units are valued at $4,000 each.

"It was a really quick response for such expensive items," Portio said.

According to the criminal complaint, the owner of the property was called to the scene and positively identified the units as the ones that were stolen by matching the serial numbers.

Portio said one of the units was dismantled with the copper stripped out of it.

That day, police knocked on the door to the residence and the woman who answered initially said that no one else was inside the home.

After police entered with a search warrant, they found Najar, who, policy say, confessed to the crime.

According to the complaint, Najar said "he decided to steal the two units" because he thought the business was vacant.

Later that day, Najar had what police described as a medical issue while he was at the Belen Police Department. He was transported to an Albuquerque hospital for heart problems. His current condition is unknown.

The owners of Extreme Fitness could not be reached for comment by News-Bulletin press time.


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