BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Police Department has arrested and charged a man in connection with the theft of a Los Alamos Fire Department trailer valued at $7,579 containing some $12,000 in equipment last month from outside the LAFD Administration building on Central Avenue. The trailer and the equipment used by the fire marshal were paid for by the Department of Energy. An arrest warrant has been issued for a second man in the case.
Los Alamos Police Department Det. Mike Weiss responded to the report of the stolen trailer and while watching the County’s camera system observed an old Chevrolet pickup with flared sides drive around the LAFD building then park at the Del Norte Credit Union drive through at about 10:15 p.m. One of two men in the truck approaches the trailer then waves to the truck, then the second man backs the truck up to the trailer and they both hook it up.
From other cameras in the County, Weiss observed the truck drive eastbound on NM502. He acquired a search warrant for video footage from Del Norte Credit Union and determined that it was the same truck that had been parked in the drive through area. The same day, LAPD Det. Matt Lyon requested assistance from Espanola Police Chief Roger Jimenez. Jimenez found video of the same truck with its unique features. The truck was registered to Charles Espinoza, 50, of Espanola. When police drove past Espinoza’s residence, the truck was there.
Weiss’s affidavit said that on November 22, he received a list of the equipment purchased by the DOE that was in the trailer and that the value was estimated at $12,000. He also received notice of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle from DOE for the trailer which was valued at $7,579.
Espinoza was arrested November 23 on a charge of larceny over $2,500. He had his first appearance November 24 in Los Alamos Magistrate Court and was released on his own recognizance on pretrial services pending his preliminary hearing Jan. 7, 2022.
Court records show that a charge of larceny over $2,500 has been filed in Los Alamos Magistrate Court for the second man, Daniel Romero, 60, of Cordova and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.