Belen police busts burglary in progress

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Belen police are crediting an attentive citizen for alerting police when he saw an intruder climbing through his neighbor's window last week.

Belen Police Detective Martin Benavidez said if it weren't for the neighbor's actions, the suspect probably would have never been arrested.

Bobby Ortiz, 22, of Belen, was arrested on one count of burglary, a third-degree felony. He is being held in the Valencia County Detention Center on a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Benavidez said officers were called out to the 300 block of N. 15th Street in Belen after a resident called police, saying he saw a man climbing through his neighbor's window.

"We parked down the road, away from the house, and we walked up the house and the neighbor points to the house and said he went into the side window," Benavidez said.

The detective said as he and four other officers walked up to the house, he noticed a window screen on the ground and the window open. The officers set up a perimeter around the house and waited.

"After a few minutes, I could see the door knob turning," the detective said. "(Ortiz) emerged and he just looked surprised we were there. He was taken into custody."

Benavidez said when Ortiz walked out of the house, he had a backpack, but it was empty.

Ortiz initially told officers that it was his grandmother's house and he was there to use the telephone, the detective said. But when questioned later, he said he was there to use the phone, but thought the house was vacant.

Officers reported several drawers were open and it appeared that someone had been rummaging through the house. The homeowner said she didn't notice anything was missing.

While the owner didn't know Ortiz, Benavidez said he apparently knew her. "He had, at one time, actually lived down the street and knew who she was and what her work schedule was," he said.

Benavidez said the neighbor made all the difference in this case. One of the best defenses against burglaries is for neighbors to watch out for one another, he said.

"Get to know your neighbors and watch over each other's houses," he said. "If it wasn't for this neighbor, we would probably have never caught this guy."


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