Stolen electronics tracked down

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A Socorro man is facing charges after police found stolen property in his home.

Leonard Escarsega is charged with two fourth-degree felonies — receiving stolen property and disposing of stolen property, as well as two misdemeanor drug charges, following a Jan. 14 incident when a man returned home to find his television gone.

Police blotters indicate a resident on the 300 block of Church Street reported his television gone when he returned home the afternoon of Jan. 14. The victim later added other items to his report, including his laptop computer.

The criminal complaint filed in Socorro County Magistrate Court states Socorro Police Department detective Rocky Fernandez followed up on the incident Jan. 22. The burglary victim told Fernandez he’d locked the front door to his home when he left Jan. 14, but on his return the door was open and things were gone. In addition to the 32-inch TV and the Dell Inspiron laptop, the victim’s game controllers had been taken.

Fernandez contacted Qwest, according to the criminal complaint, and a Qwest representative checked the IP address of the laptop to see where the computer was being used. Qwest provided the name and address of the person using the laptop.

Fernandez then went to that person, who said he bought the laptop for $80 from Escarsega and his girlfriend, according to the criminal complaint. The man said the couple also tried to sell him other merchandise. Fernandez recovered the laptop, which was a Dell Inspiron that contained data with the burglary victim’s name in it.

The criminal complaint states Fernandez and SPD Sgt. Richard Lopez went to Escarsega’s residence on Cuba Road. Escarsega and his girlfriend arrived home while Fernandez was preparing the search warrant affidavit.

Fernandez served the signed search warrant when he returned to Escarsega’s address. The detective allegedly found a DJ audio game controller in the hallway closet; a 32-inch Samsung television with the serial numbers removed in the rear bedroom; and, in the south bedroom, a coffee container holding several glass marijuana pipes and a pill bottle with less than an ounce of marijuana inside. All of the evidence was photographed and confiscated, according to the criminal complaint.

Fernandez met with Escarsega’s girlfriend and read her the Miranda warning, then asked her about the items he found. She said she knew about the laptop, according to the criminal complaint, and had gone to collect $20 still owed on it from the person who bought it. When asked about the game controller, the girlfriend said she didn’t know. Fernandez then explained to the girlfriend that if police discovered she was lying, she would be charged as well.

The criminal complaint states officers left the Cuba Road residence. On their way back to SPD, the burglary victim called Fernandez to tell him his 32-inch TV was a Samsung he’d bought from a friend, and he was in the process of getting the serial number for it. Fernandez turned around and returned to Escarsega’s place to talk to the girlfriend again.

When Fernandez asked if police could take the TV, the girlfriend said yes, according to the criminal complaint. When he asked where the TV came from, the girlfriend at first said it came from the flea market, but then changed her mind and said Escarsega had brought it to the house recently.

When Fernandez talked to Escarsega at the police department, Escarsega said he did nothing wrong, according to the criminal complaint. He said he knew nothing about the stolen DJ controller and computer, and that his girlfriend had purchased the 32-inch TV from the flea market. When Fernandez said he thought Escarsega had broken into a residence and stolen the items, Escarsega denied it, becoming irate and belligerent.

Escarsega was placed back in the holding cell, but told officers he felt suicidal so an officer took him to the emergency room. Once he was cleared for incarceration, he was taken to the Socorro County Detention Center and jailed on the charges.