Published: 3:51 pm, Thu. Mar. 1st, 2018Updated: 3:50 pm
An Artesia man is in custody on burglary and stolen property charges following a robbery at Tractor Supply Co.
Officers with the Artesia Police Department were dispatched around 11 p.m. Feb. 18 to the business at 2793 N. First St. in reference to an alarm. While checking the perimeter of the building, police discovered cut and disconnected wiring inside a junction box, and an electrical switch box that had also been tempered with. On the ground, officers found a pair of wire cutters, and it was discovered a telephone company pedestal along adjacent Mill Road had been opened and all lines inside cut.
Police observed an open dumpster and found a backpack containing a variety of tools inside, including a wrench similar in design to the wire cutters. The tools were collected as evidence.
At around 2:43 a.m. Feb. 19, as police were still on scene, officers observed a dark-colored F-150 pickup parked beside the dumpster. They initiated a traffic stop and were able to identify the driver as Joshua Dean James, 35, of Artesia. According to the report, James told police he was “dumpster diving” and was borrowing the pickup from a friend.
Later in the day, police were able to obtain surveillance video from Tractor Supply, which showed a subject inside the business’ fenced, locked storage area just after 11 p.m. Feb. 18. The subject is seen making his way through merchandise and hiding behind items as a vehicle passes by. He then attempted to open a door into the main building but fled.
The clothing worn by the individual in the video matched that of James.
Police further learned Tractor Supply’s fire alarm system was damaged, with total damage estimated at more than $1,000, and that the Ford F-150 in which James was observed had been reported stolen from Artesia Ford Sales. An Artesia Ford employee also reported tools, matching those found in the Tractor Supply dumpster, had been stolen the same night as the truck.
Upon execution of a search warrant on the pickup Feb. 22, police found a charger matching a drill that had been found with the tools collected from the dumpster.
A warrant for James’ arrest on charges of attempted burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property, and receiving stolen property was subsequently issued, and he was taken into custody in Albuquerque.