Burglary suspect charged with 45 more felonies
The Hobbsan suspected of being a serial burglar behind approximately 50 commercial burglaries was arrested Wednesday evening on 45 felony charges stemming from those alleged crimes, which date back to 2016.
Manuel Muro, 45, is charged with 38 counts of burglary, a fourth-degree felony, four counts of aggravated burglary, a second-degree felony, and three counts of breaking and entering, a fourth-degree felony. He’d been previously arrested on burglary, tampering with evidence, possession of burglary tools and breaking and entering after an alleged Tuesday night incident at a West Marland business.
Hobbs police announced the additional charges on Thursday and stated Magistrate Judge Craig La Bree set “no bond” conditions for Muro, who is being held at the Hobbs City Jail awaiting his Friday arraignment.
“We believe that these are all of the charges that we’ll be filing against him in regards to the cases that we have that he’s a suspect in,” Chief Chris McCall said Thursday.
A 23-page criminal complaint filed by Hobbs police details numerous commercial burglaries, items taken, property damage reported in the incidents and physical evidence found at the businesses, such as shoe impressions.
“It should be noted this criminal complaint will be in reference to multiple reported cases of commercial burglaries (38 counts), aggravated burglaries (four counts) and breaking and entering (three counts) that have taken place over the time frame between May of 2016 through August of 2018,” a Hobbs police detective wrote. “Every mentioned case was associated to the same burglary suspect during this time frame.”
Businesses struck by the alleged serial burglar are located on North Lovington Highway, Sanger Street, Grimes Street, West County Road, Navajo Drive, Industrial Drive, Broadway Street, Carlsbad Highway and on Marland. Some of the businesses were burglarized more than once, such as a car dealership that reported multiple incidents.
“It was reported the business had been burglarized sometime over November 15, 2016 (in the) nighttime hours,” the complaint states about the dealership. “The offices had been ransacked and files were scattered around the offices. According to employees, the safe had been pried open and an undetermined amount of cash had been stolen from the business.”
Several months later, in April 2017, Hobbs police investigated another burglary incident at the same car dealership. An employee noticed his office missing cash and it was later discovered that multiple offices had been rummaged through. The safe was reportedly damaged with cash taken from it.
During June 2017, the complaint states Hobbs police responded to a burglary call at the car dealership. During that incident, car dealership employees reported ransacked offices and a damaged vending machine. There was cash, change and snacks taken from the machine. In December 2017, Hobbs police investigated a fourth burglary at the dealership where cash was taken and a acetylene torch was used to get into a safe.
Hobbs police also responded to this dealership twice this past June. The first call was an alarm where there was no signs of damage of burglar, and the next morning, an employee reported damage to a large window and damage to a door.
Among the items reported stolen from these businesses were cash, coins, a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle, two pistols, body armor, gas monitor, gloves, duffel bag, clamp tester, a gold watch with diamonds, cement nail driver and gift cards.
The complaint also gives details on how Muro was taken into custody after a late Tuesday night alarm call at a West Marland business. It reports Hobbs police detectives were conducting a burglary operation, as Muro’s vehicle was being monitored by a GPS device. The department had obtained a signed search warrant to monitor his vehicle and it was found unoccupied near a truck stop on Tuesday night. The alarm call was reported at the business and police saw a man walking toward Muro’s vehicle wearing clothing and shoes consistent with the burglary suspect.
Hobbs police identified him as Muro, took him to the police department for an interview and towed the vehicle. Detectives and crime scene personnel located three pry bars and a bag that held a ski mask, wire cutters, flashlights and gloves while canvassing the area near the alarm.
“While waiting to be interviewed, Muro began to damage the tread on his shoes in an attempt to destroy physical evidence,” the complaint states. “The shoes were taken and secured in the Hobbs Police Department lab in order to keep him from destroying the shoes which are instrumental in these cases.”
Muro denied any involvement in any breaking and entering or burglaries in a police interview.
Hobbs police asks people to please contact its detectives at 575-397-9265 if you have additional information.