Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a crash early Monday morning quickly learned the alleged driver of the wrecked vehicle matched the description of a man seen in a surveillance video of a convenience store that had been burglarized moments earlier.
Deputies responded to the intersection of N.M. Highway 28 and Esslinger Road around 3:30 a.m. where they found a vehicle that had left the roadway and came to a stop in a concrete culvert. No one was inside the white Honda four-door, which matched the description of a vehicle seen driving away from a convenience store in the 100 block of Corpening Road in La Mesa that had been burglarized a few minutes before the crash.
Sheriff’s deputies traced the vehicle to its registered owner in Vado. The owner said her son, 18-year-old James Edward Garcia, was the last person to drive the car.
Deputies made contact with Garcia, who appeared to have cuts and abrasions on his body. Garcia denied any part in the alleged burglary, and indicated he wanted to report the vehicle as stolen.
Surveillance video obtained by Doña Ana County Sheriff’s investigators showed three people forcing their way into the store, one of which matched the physical description of Garcia. Merchandise that had allegedly been taken from the store was also found inside the white Honda.
Garcia was charged with one count of non-residential burglary, conspiracy to commit non-residential burglary, one count of criminal damage to property over $1,000 and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property, all of which are fourth-degree felonies. Garcia was also charged with one misdemeanor count of larceny.
Sheriff’s investigators transported Garcia to the Doña Ana County Detention Center where he is being held on a $5,000 surety bond.