BY MAIRE O’NEILL
An Espanola man is facing multiple charges in two counties after allegedly stealing more than $500 in alcohol April 10 from Smith’s Marketplace in Los Alamos and fleeing law enforcement officers in both Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties.
According to Los Alamos Magistrate Court documents, Los Alamos Police Department Officers responded to a shoplifting report from Smith’s involving a man who was confronted while pushing a cart full of alcohol from the store without paying. He was later identified as Donovan Peter Baca, 25, of Espanola.
Baca and a woman who accompanied him left the parking lot in a car. Officers made contact with the vehicle near the intersection of NM502 and SR 4. Baca started to pull over onto the shoulder but then sped up to a high rate of speed, the LAPD statement of probable cause indicates. Officers pursued the vehicle for a short distance and stopped.
Law enforcement agencies in the area were advised by LAPD to be on the lookout for the vehicle and an Ohkay Owingeh officer notified them that he was in pursuit of the vehicle. When the vehicle crossed into City of Espanola limits, Espanola Police Department joined in the pursuit.
When LAPD officers arrived on the scene, the two bags were on the back seat of the vehicle with the security caps still on the bottles. Baca allegedly told officers he drove to Los Alamos and stole the liquor so that they could later sell it. He said the woman did not steal any of the liquor. The value of the liquor was determined to be $503.18.
Baca is charged in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court in Espanola with three counts of aggravated fleeing an officer, one count of aggravated assault on a police officer with intent to commit a felony and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer by refusing to bring his vehicle to a stop. He has a Court appearance slated for May 13.
In Los Alamos Magistrate Court, he is charged with shoplifting more than $500 and less than $2,500, and aggravated fleeing a police officer. Baca failed to appear or call in for an April 30 hearing before Judge Pat Casados. A warrant for his arrest is expected to be issued.