Aragon described the early Saturday morning when an unwanted visitor showed up.
“So I get notifications on my phone that someone is in my yard and I look on my phone and see my lights go on in my shop. I’m a mile from the shop so I come here, I see the guys We tried to hunt him down to get him away from us, ”said Aragon.
A surveillance video showed the intruder wandering between the vehicles in the towing yard, and at one point something fell out of his pocket.
The man didn’t seem to notice and walked away, but Aragon did. It turned out to be a copy of an arrest warrant from New Mexico – for Charles Valdez.
“The dumbest living criminal who does this, who carries his papers to break into another courtyard,” said Aragon.
KOB 4 learned that Valdez had just been released from prison the day before the break-in.
“The court systems don’t do their job and let him out 5 to 6 hours later and they just come over and do it right again,” said Aragon.
Police arrested Valdez last Wednesday for allegedly breaking into two cars at Express Towing on Baca Lane in Santa Fe.
“I couldn’t believe it, they released him after all of this,” said Chris Padilla, owner of Express Towing.
KOB 4 also spoke to several other Santa Fe towing company owners and they all said the same thing, break-ins have become a huge problem for them – some have been hit dozens of times.
“That cost us money because we have to replace everything he takes from the customers’ cars that we have stored here, as well as the insurance. For everything that is missing, the insurance comes after us, ”said Padilla.
They hope that things will change and that repeat offenders will stay in jail – so they don’t have to deal with it anymore.
“Something has to change for us, we’re pretty frustrated. The bad thing is that someone gets hurt. Who knows who it will be,” said Padilla.
The judge who released Valdez is Santa Fe Magistrate Court Judge George Anaya. As for Valdez – he has a long criminal history that extends beyond these break-ins at tow yards.
KOB 4 found charges dating back nine years, including theft, break-in, heavy battery, opposition to an officer, and theft.
Valdez is out of jail, but the owner of CJ’s Towing and Recovery reported the break-in to police on Saturday night. And considering they have some good evidence on Valdez, it should only be a matter of time before he gets arrested again.
The big question is, will a judge keep him in jail next time?