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Man behind bars in brazen robbery attempt


An opening was cut into the side of Butch’s Guns after an early morning burglary. Thieves used a stolen truck to crash into the side of the building. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Somebody’s been watching Miami Vice reruns.

Albuquerque detectives are on the hunt for thieves who used stolen trucks as battering rams to break into a jewelry and gun store Tuesday morning.

Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said 22-year-old Leroy Martinez of Grants has been arrested, but police are still looking for others involved.

Martinez was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center Tuesday and faces two counts of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, non-residential burglary, tampering with evidence and conspiracy charges.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Officers responded around 4 a.m. to McDade-Woodcock Inc., an electrical installation business near Menaul and Vassar NE, and found four white pickup trucks were stolen along with several tool boxes.

Around 4:15 a.m. police responded to the Dad’s Fine Jewelers, near Wyoming and Constitution NE, after one of those trucks was driven through the wall in an apparent attempt to rob the business.

Then around 5:50 a.m. officers went to Butch’s Guns, near Candelaria and University NE, when another truck was rammed into the wall and “a couple handguns” were stolen.

Police found Martinez around 7:15 a.m. in a truck wearing a McDade-Woodcock Inc. headband. In the truck they discovered several McDade-Woodcock toolboxes. Martinez told police he met up with a man he knew as “Smiles” at the Downs Casino and the men talked about breaking into McDade-Woodcock, Inc. and stealing the trucks.

Martinez told detectives the two men went to the business and loaded the trucks with tool boxes before stealing four trucks — two at a time. He said he “crashed” into the jewelry store but denied stealing anything or being involved in the gun store break in.

Officers found two of the stolen pickups where Martinez said they had left them.

An employee at Butch’s Guns did not want to talk about the robbery.

“We’re not going to say anything right now,” he said, over the sound of heavy machinery. “We’re kind of busy. … Got a big hole in our wall, right now we’re trying to fix it.”

Pat Long, owner of Dad’s Fine Jewelry, called the entire scheme “foolish, ridiculous” and “not thought out.”

“I don’t think they were able to steal anything,” he said. “The damage is significant.”

Long said that when they crashed into the building, storefront security bars wrapped around the truck, trapping the pair and forcing them to climb out the windows. All the debris kept the thieves from being able to reach any of the jewelry.

“They didn’t think this through, maybe they were thinking there was gold things hanging from the walls like things you see in old movies,” he said.

Long called it “a bummer” nonetheless as he now has to deal with insurance claims and the destruction — broken jewelry cases, and a busted facade, among other things.

“I’m really depressed when I look at the pile of rubble,” he said. “…It’s my craft and it’s what I do. It’s how I make a living. ”

Anyone with information is asked to call 242-COPS and inform dispatch the call is related to this case.

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