Published: 5:25 pm, Tue. Feb. 6th, 2018Updated: 5:22 pm
Officers with the Artesia Police Department were dispatched around 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, to Guy Chevrolet in reference to a burglary. There, they made contact with the business owner, who provided surveillance video of the crime.
The video showed a black Isuzu Rodeo pulling into the Guy Chevy service parking lot just after 3 a.m. that morning. A subject was witnessed entering the bays and removing a five-gallon gasoline can from a table near the rear door. The subject then began entering vehicles parked in the bay.
The suspect, who appeared to be dark-skinned, wearing black gloves, a navy blue coat, grey pants, white tennis shoes, and a black baseball cap with a shiny brim and the word “DOPE” written across it in red-and-white letters, proceeded to open and rummage through eight different vehicles in the bay. From the various vehicles, he was seen removing a radar detector, an iPad Mini, a steering wheel puller kit, a Snap-On battery-powered impact wrench, and a battery charger.
The man also went through several drawers in the office area, damaged the center console of one pickup while he was going through it, broke a window on the west wall of the service area, and tampered with a lock on a service area door.
All total, the items stolen were valued at $1,794 and the damage caused at $383.
The video then showed the suspect’s vehicle leaving the scene, traveling west on Quay Avenue, running across the concrete median, and entering the traffic roundabout headed the wrong direction before turning south on Roselawn Avenue and striking the center curb.
On Jan. 23, officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1200 block of West Missouri Avenue in reference to unrelated incidents. While there, police observed a black Isuzu Rodeo identical in appearance to the one seen in the Guy Chevrolet surveillance video. Damage was noted on the driver’s side lower fender.
Officers made contact with the owner, identified as Eric Austin, 24, of Artesia, who gave consent to search the vehicle. Inside, the “DOPE” cap was discovered on the driver’s seat, along with black gloves in the center console. Lying in the back floorboard was a Snap-On impact wrench. Police also noted Austin was wearing a navy coat and white tennis shoes matching those seen in the video.
A warrant was obtained for Austin’s arrest, and he was taken into custody today on charges of nine counts of burglary, larceny, and criminal damage to property. He is scheduled for preliminary examination at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in Artesia Magistrate Court.