Belen burglary suspects arrested and charged

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Several people have been arrested and charged with two separate commercial burglaries that cost the owners thousands of dollars worth of lost inventory.

On Aug. 30, police officers were dispatched to Mike and Earnest's Oil and Lube after the owner, Michael Vallejos, called to report someone had broken into his South Main business.

When Belen Police Detective Sgt. Joe Portio and Sgt. Gerald Espinoza arrived at the business, they found one of the bay window shattered. Vallejos, Portio said, reported that someone had stolen between $3,000 to $4,000 of merchandise, including more than 20 vehicle batteries, vice grips and welding equipment accessories.

Portio said after processing the crime scene, he found some of the missing disc grinders and leather gloves on both sides of a four-foot, chain-link fence to the south of the business.

"The trail of discs led from the fence to the neighboring residence," he said.

A search warrant was issued, and the detective said he recovered most of the stolen items on the property where the trail stopped.

The day after the burglary, the suspect's mother called police saying she had found some of the batteries behind an abandoned home next to her house. But Portio said Belen Police Chief Dan Robb had climbed the fence south of the suspect's property and checked that area the day before.

"The chief searched around through the area and in the weeds where the mother said she had found them," Portio said. "No evidence had been found the day before."

After receiving a confidential tip, Portio went to a house in Tomé where he was told the suspect, Jonathan Marquez, 25, had been storing some of the stolen property. The detective said he recovered one stolen battery and two bags of welding accessories.

Marquez was arrested about a week later on an arrest warrant after Portio recognized him walking on North Main Street.

Marquez is charged with commercial burglary, a third-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a fourth-degree felony. He has since bonded out of the Valencia County Detention Center after posting a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

"I would love to take the credit as a detective for good detective work, but it was a great team effort," Portio said. "Everybody did what had to get done, did their job without hesitation and we were able to solve this crime."

A few weeks prior, Belen police arrested three others suspected of burglarizing Tabet Lumber. On Aug. 15, Officer Donaciano Pacheco was on patrol at 5 a.m. when he noticed the lumber company's large front gates knocked down.

After notifying dispatch, he saw a grocery cart full of merchandise near the gate. As he investigated further, he saw a broken window on the building's north side and open doors on several cement trucks.

Belen Police Detective Martin Benavidez said between 15 to 20 vehicles had been ransacked.

"One of the vehicles was a large commercial vehicle with large wood trusses on it, and they were able steal it and ram the front gates of the property," Benavidez said.

The truck was found later that morning by Eddie Jaramillo, the department's security officer, in a vacant field on Second and Gilbert streets.

"The vehicle wasn't damaged and the trusses were still there," the detective said. "The vehicle was then released to the owner."

The day after processing the scene, property owner Herman Tabet told the detective that a man informed him about someone trying to sell power tools and a router out of a house on Third Street.

"We went down there, a block away from where we found the vehicle," Benavidez said. "We knocked several times on the door and a lady answers. She allowed us in and the first thing we noticed against the wall was some hedge trimmers, bolt cutters and some saws that had the same type of price tags used at Tabet Lumber."

In all, three suspects were arrested, including Kenneth Bolagh, 20, Raymundo Jaquez, 19, and 17-year-old Dominick Armijo, all of Belen.

Bolagh and Jaquez are charged with commercial burglary, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, criminal damage to property. Bolagh and Jaquez are also charged with contributing to a delinquency of a minor.

Bolagh and Armijo were arrested that day; Jaquez was taken into custody about a week later when Benavidez saw him walking near the area of Gilbert and Third streets.

"He was walking down the road, and I stopped him, knowing that he had a warrant for the burglary," Benavidez said. "I found him with a security camera in his front pocket that he stole from a house on Gilbert."

The owner of the camera showed the police video, which Benavidez said showed Jaquez stealing the camera from in front of the house. He is charged with disorderly conduct, larceny, trespassing and prowling in that case.

About $6,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from Tabet Lumber. Police recovered about $500 worth of items as the suspects sold the items right away or stashed them away for later, Benavidez said.


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