Two Hobbs women who allegedly stole more than $38,000 of goods from porches, trailers and storage units in recent weeks have been charged after they were identified by home surveillance video.
Johnetta E. Oates, 52, and Lagina Williston, 40, were both arrested Tuesday on a charge of receiving stolen property (over $20,000), a second-degree felony. Williston was also charged with failure to pay, a petty misdemeanor.
Police said a third suspect remains at large.
Hobbs police said Oates and Williston were arrested after a search warrant was served at a home in the 400 block of West Park Street. Police said a black jacket with yellow trim matching a jacket worn by one of the women during a recent porch burglary was also found during the search. Police said a mail-order notice taken from a home on North Traditions Drive was also found in the driver side door of the suspects’ vehicle.
The burglary spree allegedly began when Hobbs police dispatched an officer to the 4600 block of North Lovington Highway on Nov. 28 in reference to a stolen vehicle. Police said the victim reported a trailer loaded with home care system vacuum cleaners and shampoo kits was stolen from his hotel’s parking lot.
On Dec. 1, Hobbs police said an officer was dispatched to the 1300 block of North Cochran Street in reference to a stolen vehicle. Police said the victim reported his 8-foot trailer was stolen. A tool box and generator valued at $7,000 was also reported stolen.
On Dec. 3, Hobbs police were dispatched to the 900 block of West Mesa Verde in reference to a burglary from storage. The victim reported 20 collectible cars valued at $100 each and a stove heater valued at $160 were stolen.
On Dec. 12, Hobbs police were dispatched to a burglary at a rental self-storage business in the 700 block of North Grimes Street. The victim reported a drum set valued at $500, a weight ball valued at $15, and a tool valued at $15 were reported stolen.
On Dec. 15, Hobbs police responded to a larceny report at a home in the 3000 block of North Fowler Street. The victim reported two packages containing 100 champagne glasses, tea lights and wrapping paper, valued at about $61, was stolen. The victim provided police security camera footage from the porch, which showed two females taking the mail-order packages.
On Monday, Hobbs police were dispatched to a home in the 2500 block of North Traditions Drive, where the victim reported a package containing a Michael Jordan jersey and a jar of jelly beans stolen. That victim also provided police security camera footage showing two women stealing the packages and leaving in a black sport utility vehicle.
On Tuesday, a Hobbs police patrol lieutenant located a black SUV in front of a home in the 400 block of West Park Street that matched the suspects’ vehicle. The lieutenant said he then observed, in plain view, a delivery box of champagne glasses in the backyard of the home.
Police said they spoke with Oates, who reportedly said her son had brought the items to her home. Police said the woman’s son, Shawn Calapp, and Williston were located in a recreational vehicle in the backyard of the home in the 400 block of West Park Street.
Police said Oates and Williston were identified as the female suspects in the security footage, and they and Calapp all live at the same home in the 400 block of West Park Street.
Police obtained a search warrant for the residence and property. Police said 16 home care system vacuum cleaners, valued at $1,499 each, were found, along with 14 multi-purpose shampoo kits, valued at $249 each, 23 scrub heads valued at $49, the 8-foot trailer, the tool box, the $7,000 generator, 17 of the collectible cars valued at $1,700, a heater valued at $160, a drum set valued at $500, the weight ball, the tool and the champagne glasses and lights.
“The grand total of the known values of the stolen recovered items is $38,048,” states a criminal complaint.
Oates and Williston are being held in the Hobbs City Jail pending arraignment.
Police said Calapp, 33, of Hobbs, was charged with receiving stolen property (over $20,000) in connection to the string of thefts. He remains at large with a warrant for his arrest.
Hobbs police said the investigation is ongoing.
“The Hobbs Police Department asks those with information regarding this incident, those who may have video footage of these subjects or know the whereabouts of Calapp to please contact the Hobbs Police Department at (575) 397-9265, Lea County Crimestoppers at
(575) 393-8005 or send us a private message on our Facebook Page,” the HPD said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.