Burglary case solved under unique circumstances

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Three men are charged with aggravated burglary and criminal damage to property for allegedly entering a residence with the intent to commit a felony.
Bobby Zamora Jr., 21, and Louis Zamora, 29, both with addresses on Luis Lopez Road, and Justin Zamora, 20, with an address listed as Palmdale, Calif., are facing second-degree and fourth-degree felonies.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Sweeney responded to the burglary call reported by the owner of a home on N.M. 1 in Luis Lopez on Nov. 9. Upon arrival, the deputy saw that the back door and frame been broken in.
According to the criminal complaint, several of the owner’s items were stacked by the back door and Sweeney observed drag marks leading from the home to an arroyo about 100 feet north of the residence.

Prior to the report
Unbeknownst to Sweeney, five days earlier Socorro County Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza and Deputy William Armijo had encountered two of the suspects, Justin and Louis Zamora, while on a DWI compliance check. It was during the check that Vaiza and Armijo saw a silver Chevrolet Malibu with California plates parked near an arroyo on N.M. 1.
“One was in the driver’s seat, and another guy comes walking out of the arroyo,” Vaiza said. “He said he had lost his hat earlier while on an ATV.”
Vaiza said he met with the driver, Justin, and saw a red, cherry wood box in the back seat along with a lot of tools. When questioned who they belonged to, the driver said the tools were his and the box full of silverware belonged to his mother, and that Vaiza could call her if he wanted to.
“We took down their information and then left,” Vaiza said.

Three days later

Meanwhile, at the department on Nov. 12, the owner of the home that was burglarized met with deputies to provide elimination fingerprints and as chance would have it Armijo just happened to be there. According to the report, the owner spoke with Armijo regarding the burglary and was asked by the deputy if one of the items stolen was silverware in a “reddish wooden box.” The owner asked how the deputy knew.
Armijo then contacted Sweeney and they exchanged information regarding the earlier encounter with the suspects and secured a search warrant for Louis Zamora’s home. According to the complaint, Sweeney and Armijo interviewed the suspect and Louis admitted to being involved in the burglary over a two-day period.
The items that were stolen from the home were removed by using plastic bags, a hand truck and a clothes basket, and transported to an arroyo just a little north of the home.
With the information the deputies received, they executed a second search warrant at the home of Bobby Zamora, who was not there at that time, the report indicated. However, in the presence of Bobby’s grandfather, one of the items reported stolen was recovered.
Meanwhile, the third suspect, Justin Zamora, telephoned Deputy Casey Spurgin on his cell phone, according to police reports, but because Spurgin was not conducting the investigation the call was turned over to Sweeney who learned from Justin where some of the other items were hidden.
“He was cleaned out,” Sweeney said of the items stolen from the residence. “We found most of it.”

Another twist
One of the items that was stolen was a .38-caliber handgun. Working on a tip, Socorro Police Det. Rocky Fernandez learned that a man on probation was attempting to get rid of a stolen firearm.
According to the police report, Fernandez located the man, identified as Robert Gaudern, 39, of Socorro, riding his bicycle on U.S. 60. Fernandez stopped Gaudern and found the stolen weapon in his possession.
In the complaint, Gaudern told the detective that he got the gun from Louis Zamora and said that Zamora was still at his residence.
Gaudern was then placed under arrest and charged with receiving a stolen firearm (less than $2,500), a fourth-degree felony, possession of a firearm/destructive device by a felon, a fourth-degree felony, and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Fernandez then went to Gaudern’s residence and arrested Louis Zamora, who, according to the report admitted to stealing the weapon out of the residence in Luis Lopez.
“The Socorro PD picked him up for selling the weapon to a known felon,” Sweeney said. “With the combined cases we were able to recover more of the (stolen) goods.”
Louis Zamora is facing two additional charges including receiving a stolen firearm, a fourth-degree felony and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Sweeney said at the time of the report the items stolen were valued at nearly $7,000.
“It’s just one of those things that worked out,” Sweeney said of the circumstances surrounding the solving of the crime. “It really was a good example of how well everyone works together.”