Neighborhood Watch Block Captain Catches Thieves in the Act
By Officer Tasia Martinez
APD Valley Field Officers arrested two local teens Wednesday after a neighborhood watch block captain spotted them as they were helping themselves to his neighbor’s belongings.
Phillip Garcia, 19, and a 14-year-old boy are facing multiple charges including burglary and larceny after they broke into an Albuquerque home and stole numerous items from within the house. Phillip Garcia also faces charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor for conspiring with a 14-year-old to commit a crime.
Valley Officers were assisted by APD K-9 and tactical officers as well as the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Air Unit as they scoured the neighborhood for nearly four hours until both were taken into custody.
Officers say that they received the call from block captain, Leonard Serino, and quickly responded and set up a perimeter around the area within minutes. The coordinated response of the Valley Officers prevented the burglars from fleeing the area with the goods. The two suspects were found hiding in a residential yard and Phillip Garcia was immediately taken into custody, while his younger counterpart ignored officer’s commands and fled on foot.
The juvenile suspect continued to hide from officers over the next few hours and reportedly broke into another residence through a window and hid inside of the home. He was confronted by that homeowner who ordered him to leave. The suspect then ran off until he was apprehended by officers on the search team.
In addition to catching the two suspects, officers recovered numerous stolen items from the burglarized home to include electronics, jewelry and the keys to the homeowner’s vehicle. It is believed that the burglars were caught on their second trip to the home having already taken items earlier in the day and then returning to gather more property.
Despite being only 19 years old, this is not Phillip Garcia’s first arrest. Metropolitan Detention Center records indicate that he has been previously arrested for theft and a probation violation.
The APD Burglary Unit has assumed responsibility for the case and will continue the investigation.
Valley Field Officers expressed their gratitude to the vigilant block captain who reported the suspicious activity and assisted officers in identifying the two suspects. As always, the police department reminds citizens to be vigilant and to look out for their neighbors so that police and the community can continue to work together to keep Albuquerque safe.