A Jal man allegedly fleeing the scene of a vehicle fire Thursday in Hobbs, stole a car with a passenger inside and was charged with kidnapping.
According to a Hobbs Police Department criminal complaint, Octavio C. Gutierrez, 33, reportedly fled the scene Dec. 13 when a vehicle he recently bought was engulfed in flames at the intersection of Mobile Street and Bender Boulevard.
Hobbs Fire Department put out the fire and a police officer checked the license plate on the burned vehicle contacting the owner. The owner said he recently sold the vehicle to Gutierrez.
“He was described as a Hispanic male with ‘tattoos all over his head and face’ by the registered owner,” the reporting officer wrote.
According to the complaint, a suspect stole a car at a gas station at Turner Street and Grimes Street within minutes of the vehicle fire being reported. The suspect’s description matched the description of Gutierrez and the male who fled the scene of the vehicle fire.
The victim whose car was stolen told officers someone ran up to him and asked him for a ride telling him his vehicle was on fire. The victim was in the middle of a conversation with a family member at the gas station and declined to give the man a ride.
The victim told officers the suspect got into his car with a passenger seated next to him. The victim grabbed the suspect as he drove away.
After the carjacker drove several feet dragging the victim who was holding onto him, the thief slowed down letting the passenger exit the vehicle.
The victim let go of the suspect and got into the family member’s car to follow his stolen vehicle, but he lost sight of the car around Snyder and Houston Streets. Officers canvassed the area but couldn’t find the vehicle.
The victim told officers his vehicle was out of gas and had only managed to pump in $1 before the suspect stole it.
At 6:15 p.m. someone reported a man showed up at an oilfield housing unit on Carlsbad Highway asking for a ride saying his car broke down on the highway. The car matched the description of the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was returned to the victim after it was processed.
The reporting party said he gave the suspect a ride to the Lea County Airport. Shortly after, Lea County Airport personnel reported there was an intoxicated subject inside the airport. Officers arrived and located Gutierrez, who was intoxicated. They took Gutierrez to Hobbs City Jail for booking.
Gutierrez was charged with kidnapping, a second-degree felony; robbery, a third-degree felony; and arrest prior to requisition, a fourth-degree felony.