Pickup truck believed to be involved in Walmart burglary has been seized

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Los Lunas police have seized the white pickup truck they believe was involved in the Christmas Day burglary at Walmart where suspects stole $30,000 in merchandise.

Los Lunas police have seized the white pickup truck they believe was involved in the Christmas Day burglary at Walmart where suspects stole $30,000 in merchandise.

Police seized the pickup, a 1995 Chevy S-10, on Jan. 7 in Albuquerque after receiving a tip about where the truck was located, according to Los Lunas Police Lt. Naithan Gurule.

Gurule said the truck was located near the La Vida Nueva Apartments on Dickerson Drive. Tire impressions of that vehicle match those left at the crime scene, the lieutenant said.

Police said at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning, the one day out of the year when Walmart is closed, three people, wearing all black, broke into the Los Lunas store and took the merchandise including guns and electronics such as TVs.

Outdoor surveillance footage shows the truck driving north onto Desert Willow Road about 1:50 a.m. and then again was caught on camera leaving the store and turning west on Palmilla Road about 3:10 a.m.

Police interviewed the owner of the pickup, an Albuquerque resident, who they say is "a person of interest" in the case. The News-Bulletin is not naming the owner since the individual has not been charged in the case.

Gurule would not say what the man told police in the interview process or what evidence was collected from the pickup truck. He would not say why the individual has not charged.

In a press release, police said the rear roll bar in the back of the truck had been removed and sold last weekend after a picture of the vehicle was aired on local TV news stations.

The press release continued, saying the person of interest removed the roll bar in an attempt to conceal his/her identity.

Gurule would not say how police obtained that information.

The press release said the person of interest denied any involvement in the Walmart burglary. Police have identified "at least four persons" involved in the crime, the release said.

Police would not release where those individuals were from or how they were involved.

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

The Los Lunas Police Department is offering to buy back guns from anyone who unknowingly purchased the stolen firearms from the burglary in exchange for any information that could lead to the identity of the persons involved and any other information on the case.

"Our officers are still working with due diligence to identify and arrest those responsible for this burglary and to recover the stolen property and in particular the six guns," said Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick in the press release.

"Thanks to the assistance of the media and members of the public, numerous tips have been coming in and continue to come in daily. Now that we have recovered the vehicle used in the commission of the crime, and have identified at least four persons involved in the crime, additional search warrants and arrest warrants will soon follow."

Anyone having any information regarding this case, including information about stolen merchandise, are asked to call LLPD detectives at 352-7674.

Residents can also text a tip to police by texting LLPD274-637. You can report a crime online by visiting www.loslunasnm.gov/reportacrime. Those reporting a crime can remain anonymous.


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