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Two charged in theft from construction site

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After allegedly trying to sell stolen appliances on Facebook, two men were arrested and charged in the crime.

Joel Garcia Espinoza, 28, and Tomas Valenzuela-Hernandez, 24, were both arrested after attempting to sell stolen kitchen appliances online.

According to a Hobbs Police Department criminal complaint, a contractor of a home contacted police on Monday when he noticed stolen appliances being sold on Facebook. The contractor told police he messaged the seller about purchasing the items.

“Joel was trying to sell (the contractor) a dishwasher, a microwave and two pressure washers,” the report states. “(The contractor) advised Joel described all the items to be brand new and to be the same color as the items that were stolen from his homes.”

A meeting was set up so the contractor could “buy” the items and identify them as stolen, the report states. An officer and the contractor went to Espinoza’s home and found him sitting outside.

The officer states he recognized Espinoza due to him having an active arrest warrant, and arrested him. The report states the officers located an empty dishwasher box in the home. Hernandez was also found at the home.

According to the report, Espinoza claimed Hernandez stole the items and sells them. However, Hernandez allegedly told officers Espinoza took the items and he was helping to sell them.

The report states, officers found more than the stolen appliances at the residence, including several doorknobs and a bathroom faucet.

Espinoza was charged with robbery, a third-degree felony; and failure to appear, a misdemeanor. Hernandez was charged with receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony.

According to court records, both men had their first appearances in Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

Espinoza was released on an unsecured bond of $1,000. Hernandez was released on his own recognizance. They are both scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. on Dec. 9 with Judge Nechama Minkowicz.

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