Teens Charged In Las Cruces School Burglary, Vandalism

Sep 27, 2013

  Two teenagers suspected of vandalizing and burglarizing Mesa Middle School over the Memorial Day weekend have been identified and charged.

Paul De La Torre and Juan Sanchez Jr., both 14, were issued Juvenile Class III citations on Wednesday charging them with one count each of non-residential burglary and criminal damage to property. De La Torre also faces one count of tampering with evidence.

On the morning of Tuesday, May 28, Las Cruces Public School personnel learned that Mesa Middle School had been vandalized and burglarized sometime over the Memorial Day weekend. School officials notified Las Cruces Police who conducted the investigation.

Detectives learned that more than $10,000 in damage was done to the middle school. Windows were broken inside each building at the school and vandals spray-painted graffiti on several walls. Stolen from the school were at least 20 iPod Touch consoles, iPads and a laptop computer.

A couple days after learning of the incident, a passerby located several burial mounds in a desert area just north of Las Cruces. The passerby notified the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s office and their investigators recovered property stolen from Mesa Middle School.

Also buried with the stolen property was an identification card belonging to another juvenile who was subsequently interviewed by Las Cruces Police detectives. Information gathered from interviews with that juvenile led LCPD investigators to De La Torre. Further investigation led detectives to Sanchez’s involvement in the vandalism and burglary.

Detectives learned that De La Torre buried the stolen goods in the desert in the days following the vandalism and burglary spree at the school. Las Cruces Police detectives are continuing their investigation and additional charges may be filed.