Suspects arrested in Walmart burglary

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Los Lunas police arrested a 23-year-old Albuquerque man they say was involved in the Christmas Day burglary at Walmart where suspects stole $30,000 in merchandise, ranging from guns to iPads.

Los Lunas police arrested a 23-year-old Albuquerque man they say was involved in the Christmas Day burglary at Walmart where suspects stole $30,000 in merchandise, ranging from guns to iPads.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: Los Lunas Police Deputy Chief David Gurule looks at guns seized as part of the Christmas Day Walmart burglary where $30,000 in merchandise was stolen. On Jan. 12, police arrested Emilio Larsen of Albuquerque on aggravated burglary charges. Police are still looking for Gary H. Wilson, an Albuquerque resident who is believed to be involved in the incident.

On Saturday, police served a search warrant at a residence in Albuquerque’s South Valley on La Font Road and arrested Emilio Larsen on aggravated burglary charges after stolen property from the incident was found at his home.

Three juveniles, who are also believed to be involved in the crime, are expected to be charged. Police recovered six guns from one of the homes of the juveniles on Sunday. Police also recovered a gaming system along with a few video games.

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.

“The most important component on this case was to recover those guns, make the arrests and (eventually hope to) prosecute those responsible,” said Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick.

Melnick said one adult and one juvenile served as lookouts and were stationed at different locations outside the store during the burglary.

Police recovered two-way radios they say were used in the burglary. The police chief said the suspects were in the store for close to 50 minutes.

Larsen had been employed at two different Walmart locations in Albuquerque. Melnick said Larsen was familiar with the store’s security system.

He said police interviewed the security officer who was posted outside the store in a vehicle that night. He said that individual is expected to be interviewed in the coming days. Melnick said the man is not charged in the incident.

“From the beginning, we suspected that the employee had to have some type of security knowledge,” Melnick said.

Police are still looking for Gary H. Wilson, a suspect who is the owner of the pickup truck that is believed to be involved in the heist. Wilson was previously “a person of interest” in the case.

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.

Police said Wilson removed the roll bar in an attempt to conceal his/her identity.

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.

Melnick said Wilson voluntarily answered questions by police on Friday and was cooperating. He said he asked Wilson to schedule a time to pick up the stolen guns at an undisclosed location.

“We recovered (the guns) on Sunday without his help,” Melnick said.

Melnick said Wilson’s phone has been turned off since the interview with police on Friday.

He said Los Lunas police are working with the Albuquerque Police Department on providing them information because they believe the suspects also were involved in two other burglaries at Albuquerque Walmart stores the same day.

“Our officers did an excellent job bringing about a speedy conclusion to this crime. We are grateful for the assistance of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for (their help) of the execution of the arrest and search warrants.

“We will continue to work diligently to recover the remainder of the stolen property,” he said.

If you have any information on the case, call the Los Lunas Police Department at 352-7674.


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