Burglars take $30,000 worth of items from Walmart in LL

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The Grinch apparently wore black this Christmas.

Los Lunas police said at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning, the one day out of the year that Walmart is closed, three people, wearing all black, broke into the Los Lunas store and stole $30,000 in merchandise from iPads to guns.

Courtesy of Los Lunas Police Department: This surveillance photo shows an individual who police say broke into the Los Lunas Walmart on Christmas Day. The individual, holding a rifle, was one of three people who stole about $30,000 in merchandise from the store, according to police.

Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick said detectives are examining surveillance footage that shows one of the individuals using a hammer to break glass to take video games, and another is shown using a crowbar to open a jewelry counter.

The individuals took at least four rifles along with TVs, computers, cameras and cigarettes. The fourth person waited for the others in a getaway vehicle.

Police say that each suspect was small-framed and one was a white male. Police do not have specific descriptions of the suspects, Melnick said.

“Our officers are working closely with Walmart personnel to quickly identify and arrest those responsible for this burglary and to recover the stolen property,” Melnick said. “The theft of the guns is of great concern to us knowing that these guns could end up in the hands of the wrong persons and could be used in more serious crimes.”

Melnick said the three suspects each used a shopping cart to gather up merchandise after the store closed about 8 p.m. the before the Christmas holiday.

The police chief would not comment on how the individuals entered the building, and he did not say how long the burglars were in the store.

The store’s security officer was on duty that night and did not call authorities about the incident, according to Melnick.

He said police “don’t know” if the burglary was an inside job.

“If they did (call), we would have caught them in the act,” Melnick said.

He said a Walmart security guard patrolled the area that night and spoke to individuals in another vehicle, but not the one the suspects used.

He said the security guard did not have contact with the suspect vehicle.

Los Lunas Police Detective Sgt. Denise Romero said the security video doesn’t clearly reveal the make and model of the suspect’s vehicle in the parking lot at Walmart.

Romero said detectives are screening the video in hopes of seeing one of the suspect’s faces.

“We need the public’s help,” Romero said. “People don’t keep quiet about something like this. Right now, we are relying on tips at this point.”

Police found burglar tools and footprints at the scene, Melnick said.

The investigation is ongoing and detectives are following up on leads.

If anyone has any information on this case, they are asked to call the Los Lunas Police Department at 352-7674. Melnick said callers can remain anonymous.


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