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Shoplifting suspect arrested for $17,000 theft

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Raul Juarez, 34, of Lovington was arrested for shoplifting and was found to have a warrant for stealing more than $17,000 worth of electric motors from a repair shop.

Juarez was arrested on June 6 and charged with larceny over $2,500, a third-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance, a fourth-degree felony; shoplifting, a misdemeanor; and possession of marijuana, a petty misdemeanor.

According to a Hobbs Police Department’s (HPD) criminal complaint, Juarez was seen on a department store’s surveillance footage on the 3800 block N. Lovington Hwy. leaving the store without paying.

An officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Juarez left the store in, the report states.

According to officers, Juarez initially denied shoplifting anything before his story changed.

“Raul stated he did not take anything that he did not purchase,” the report states. “Raul later stated, ‘I thought I was going to get away with it.’ ‘I did take it,’ and ‘I need it for work.’”

Officers then went through the vehicle and found fish hooks that Juarez claimed “that’s all I took without pay(ing) for it.”

According to the report, the department store loss prevention employee said Juarez took several items valued at $268.15.

Officers watched surveillance footage and said it showed Juarez not scanning items at the checkout.

“I observed Raul approach a self-checkout register,” an officer’s report stated. “Raul started to scan some items. Raul attempted to hide some of the merchandise under other merchandise in the shopping cart.”

After going through the vehicle officers found a cigarette box containing a plastic baggy of 1.8 grams of methamphetamine and another plastic bag with 3.1 grams of marijuana, officers stated.

While being arrested, officers discovered Juarez had an active arrest warrant for larceny.

According to the complaint, on March 10 a truck driver saw a group of four people stealing electric motors from a motor repair shop on the 5000 block N. Lovington Hwy.

The driver told police he was sleeping in his semi-truck parked behind the business when a loud noise woke him up.

According to the report, two males and two females were loading the motors into the back of a trailer.

“(The driver) stated he questioned the males about taking the motors and they advised they had permission,” the report states. “(The driver) stated he took a photograph of the license plate on the white vehicle.”

Nine motors were taken, which were valued at $17,500. Across the street, a nearby business’s surveillance video showed the theft.

According to the report, Juarez was arrested on March 19 for failure to appear and was driving the vehicle used in the theft. He was taken to the Lea County Detention Center.

When questioned by officers the next day, “Juarez stated he spoke to an employee at (the business) the day before he took the motors and that the employee gave him permission to take them,” the report stated.

Juarez claimed to have spoken to the same employee of the business multiple times, officers reported.

“Juarez stated he has spoken to the same employee several times but could not provide a name nor description,” the report stated. “Juarez only advised it was a ‘Mexican man’ and that he only spoke Spanish.”

When asked who helped Juarez load and take the motors he would not give names because “he did not want to get them in trouble,” officers stated.

According to the complaint, Juarez told officers he only took two motors and they were at his home.

“Juarez stated he could return them, however refused to provide me his address,” the officers said. “Juarez stated he would call me once he was released from jail in order to return the motors. I did not receive a phone call from Juarez.”

According to secure court access, Juarez had his first appearance on June 8 with Judge Willie Henry and was released on an unsecured appearance bond of $5,000.

A preliminary examination is scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 30 with Henry.

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