Last of Walmart burglary suspects apprehended

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An arrest of a Los Lunas Walmart burglary suspect proves law enforcement knows no bounds.

On Wednesday, U.S. Marshals Service officials arrested Gary H. Wilson, one of five suspects who police say was involved in the Christmas Day Walmart heist, thousands of miles away in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.

A few days before, officials from the Los Lunas Police Department forwarded information that included arrest warrants to the agency that tracked the 27-year-old Wilson to Getzville, N.Y. Officials tracked Wilson through "a known associate" after he fled the state of New Mexico.

"Sure enough, within a few hours, Mr. Wilson was observed walking down the street as if he didn't have a care in the world," said Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick. "When officials from the U.S. Marshals arrested him, he looked like he had seen a ghost."

Wilson is a suspect in the Christmas Day burglary of the Los Lunas Walmart, where an estimated $30,000 in merchandise was stolen, including firearms and electronics.

The store was closed at the time of the burglary.

Melnick said he knew it would only be a short period of time that Wilson, an Albuquerque resident, was apprehended after the federal agency got involved with the case.

"We knew once we linked and partnered with the U.S. Marshals Office, it would only be a matter of days before their nationwide network would locate him," said Melnick.

Wilson voluntarily answered questions and was cooperating with police in a meeting with Melnick a few weeks ago. The police chief said he asked Wilson to schedule a time to pick up the stolen guns at an undisclosed location.

The meeting between law enforcement and Wilson never took place.

On Thursday, another suspect, Emilio Larsen, was indicted by a Valencia County grand jury on aggravated burglary charges.

Larsen was arrested after police served a search warrant at a residence in Albuquerque's South Valley on La Font Road at the man's home. Police found stolen property from the burglary at the residence.

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 stores 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.

Three others, all juveniles, Adam Pacheco, Matt Leyba and Jacob Larsen, were also charged in the crime. The juveniles all have Albuquerque addresses.

Melnick said Wilson is expected to be extradited to New Mexico, where he will face aggravated burglary charges.

Melnick said Wilson linked the suspects with two Albuquerque Walmart burglaries committed on Christmas Day in 2011.

He said the latest arrest is "a prime example" of how multiple agencies can work together. He said Wilson could face charges with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since the burglary involved six guns.


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