Stolen goods recovered at flea market
Property burglarized March 10 from a Socorro residence, valued at $40,000 or more, turned up two days later at a Bosque Farms flea market. The vendor selling the goods has been arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
Socorro police were contacted about the burglary at 403 Fifth Street by the owner, Paul Walker, an expert in antique and classic cars, and a collector of automobile and mechanical memorabilia. Among the items stolen from his shop were old gas station equipment, signs and antique toys.
Walker told police that the person or persons who burglarized his property appeared to know what to take, and targeted the more valuable items while leaving the less valuable items behind. Included in the theft were hood ornaments valued at more than $350 apiece.
Walker actually came across his belongings on March 12 while walking through the Bosque Farms flea market, being sold by vendor Tommy Barela, 47, of Mountainair. According to the police report, Walker contacted the Bosque Farms Police Department. BFPD Officer Jeff Hogan questioned Barela, who said he had bought Walker’s property at a flea market in Albuquerque.
Hogan contacted Socorro Police Detective Richard Lopez, who continued the investigation and interviewed the victim a second time.
During Lopez’ investigation, he learned from Walker that in addition to the valuable goods stolen from his place, some inexpensive plastic trash cans had also been taken. According to the criminal complaint, it appeared the plastic trash cans had been used to take away the items of value.
A plastic can was among the items Walker spotted at Barela’s flea market stall. Walker told Lopez the can contained sandpaper he had used in his shop only the day before the theft.
Barela has been charged with one second-degree felony count of larceny, one third-degree felony count of receiving stolen property, one third-degree felony count of conspiracy to commit a second-degree felony, and one petty misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property.
He faces a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in prison if tried and convicted on all counts, along with potential fines in excess of $22,000.
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