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Girls report attempted carjacking; Unidentified suspect eludes police after hiding in Roswell home

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A New Mexico State Police officer speaks with witnesses after a man barricaded himself in a south side Roswell home Friday afternoon after trying to break into a moving car occupied by two teenage girls. (Jeff Tucker Photo)

Two teenage girls told the Daily Record and police that a man attempted to carjack their vehicle Friday, in an afternoon incident that led to numerous state and local police converging on a south side Roswell home where the suspect barricaded himself and ultimately eluded police.
State police said the incident, in which no one was injured, began at about 3:10 p.m. when a state police officer spotted a suspect acting suspiciously in an alleyway in the 800 block of South Lea Avenue.
State police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said when the state police officer approached the male suspect, he ran behind a home in the 800 block of South Lea Avenue and unlawfully entered the residence.
“The officers contacted the homeowner, who gave them permission to search the home,” Armijo said. “So a perimeter was set up around the house. The officers went in, nobody was inside.”
Armijo said the suspect apparently got out of the home by breaking a window before the police perimeter was secured. The police response was witnessed by scores of South Lea Avenue motorists.
Armijo said late Friday night police were trying to identify the suspect and the case remains under investigation.
“The officers, I don’t have a name on (the suspect), but they believe they know who he is and it sounds like he may be wanted,” Armijo said. “We’re currently investigating the situation. We are looking to get fingerprints, etc. from what we can inside the house. The homeowner had no idea who this was. He certainly wasn’t authorized to be in the house.”
Two 18-year-old girls told the Daily Record a man tried to break into their car Friday afternoon as they were traveling south in the 800 block of South Lea Avenue while police were searching for the suspect. The girls said the man ran out into the middle of the street and unsuccessfully attempted to flag them down and force them to stop.
“I was driving and slowing down because there was a stop sign,” said one of the girls. “He went around my car. He tried to get in my car. He ran out from the middle of the houses. Some guy just tried to break into my car. We took off.”
The girls said their car was locked and the man was unable to get inside after pulling on door handles.
“We were so scared, we were so scared,” said the other girl, adding they didn’t have time to call 911 before the incident escalated. “We were just so shaken up, we didn’t know what to do.”
The girls told the newspaper when the suspect attempted to break into their car, there was only one police vehicle at the home in the 800 block of South Lea Avenue. A short time later, the girls said they turned around on South Lea Avenue and went back to where the man had tried to break into their car. By that time, they said numerous police vehicles had gathered.
Witnesses and neighbors said nearly a dozen police officers, mostly state police vehicles and including a Department of Game & Fish officer, converged at the home in the 800 block of South Lea Avenue at about 3:45 p.m. where the suspect had barricaded himself.
In addition to the residential break-in, Armijo said state police are also investigating the attempted carjacking the girls reported to police and later told the Daily Record about.
“We would be seeking prosecution for the additional crimes committed,” she said. “At this point, we’ve got to verify who this guy is first, which we’re working on. We’re trying to verify, through leads, who this suspect is. Once that information is verified, we will seek to get a warrant for the obstruction and everything that occurred today.”
Roswell Police Department spokesperson Todd Wildermuth said Roswell police assisted state police at the scene. Witnesses said Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies also responded.