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Caught and jailed, released and caught again

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 26-year-old man held at gunpoint Thursday by a couple whose garage he was burglarizing was arrested again Saturday – his third time in one week – after attempting to steal an elderly woman’s vehicle, according to police.

AARON LUJAN

AARON LUJAN

Aaron Lujan was arrested on Sunday, Nov. 15, on a warrant in a drug case and released on Wednesday after posting a portion of a $1,500 bond.

He was arrested Thursday after, police say, a gun-toting couple caught him, still wearing a Metropolitan Detention Center bracelet, putting their belongings into an SUV. Albuquerque police officer Fred Duran said Lujan was released on his own recognizance Friday by Metro Court Judge Victor Valdez.

And he was arrested again on Saturday on multiple charges, including armed robbery. As of Sunday night, he remained jailed on a no-bond hold.

SUMMER MOLINA

SUMMER MOLINA

“Three times in a little over a week’s time for felony charges is a little disturbing,” Duran said Sunday.

He said police think Lujan has a pattern of targeting elderly people.

A woman in her 70s called Saturday night to report that she was robbed at gunpoint earlier in the day and had just received a call from a man who told her to meet him in the Target at Uptown parking lot so he could return her keys.

The woman said the man who robbed her had wanted to take her car but left without it because he couldn’t drive standard transmission, Duran said. It is not clear how the man got her phone number to lure her to the parking lot later that night, but police say Lujan and Summer Molina, 20, intended to follow the woman back to her home after their meeting so that they could “commit a home invasion.”

Police met the woman in the Target parking lot as Lujan and Molina arrived in a sedan that police say had been reported stolen earlier this week. As Molina was talking with the woman, Lujan saw officers and fled the area, leaving Molina behind, Duran said.

An air support unit “tracked his every move,” police said. Eventually, he stopped in an open field just west of Los Altos Skate Park, ran into an arroyo and attempted to hide. Air support, officers and their police dogs found Lujan hiding in a tree at a nearby golf course.

He was booked into jail on new charges of armed robbery, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing from a peace officer and aggravated assault. Molina was arrested on two outstanding warrants related to petty larceny and shoplifting cases, according to jail records.

On Thursday, officers were dispatched to a home near Indian School and Girard, where George Kennedy, 70, and Rebecca Kennedy, 66, were holding Lujan on his knees at gunpoint in the street.

George Kennedy reported that he saw Lujan loading items into a vehicle and realized that some of them belonged to him. He approached Lujan and told him to leave, and when Lujan continued loading the vehicle, the Kennedys “came out armed with guns,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court on Thursday.

Police and community members have recently railed against what they say is the turnstile justice process. Judges in the state are constitutionally bound to offer reasonable options for someone to get out of jail. But a recent run of people arrested on high-profile crimes shortly after being released on bond in other cases has the state considering a constitutional amendment to allow judges to hold defendants they deem sufficiently dangerous.

But that might not have applied to Lujan, who, until the incident Saturday, had only faced a handful of non-violent charges and a handful of bench warrants, a factor used to determine flight risk and bail amount.

Lujan’s criminal history includes convictions for possession of marijuana, fraudulent use of a credit card, possession of a controlled substance and shoplifting.

In May of this year, Lujan was arrested and later convicted of shoplifting. Court records in that case show that he tested positive for opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine. And in July, while he was on pre-trial release in that case, he was arrested on a new felony charge of possession of narcotics. He posted bond Wednesday in that case, which is being handled by Judge Neil Candelaria.

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