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Man faces felony trial after robbing local phone retailer

A cellphone valued at $50 was stolen from the MetroPCS at 1137 S. Main St. on Nov. 24 by 29-year-old Henry Luevano Jr., the Roswell Police Department said in a criminal complaint filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court Nov. 27. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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A man accused of stealing from a local phone retailer after being unable to pay a $50 balance and later resisting arrest in late-November made his first appearance in Chaves County Magistrate Court Wednesday.

According to a criminal complaint by the Roswell Police Department, 29-year-old Henry Luevano Jr. had originally entered the MetroPCS at 1137 S. Main St. on Nov. 24 in hopes to purchase a new cellphone. However, when Luevano tried to pay with his sister’s credit card, the card was declined, police said.

After management instructed Luevano he had to either pay for the device or cancel his service, the man said, “f*** this, I’ll just take the phone,” according to the criminal complaint.

Luevano reached out and grabbed the phone while the store’s general manager handling the transaction did the same, police said.

“(The manager) said Mr. Luevano forcefully took the phone from her possession,” an RPD officer wrote. “Mr. Luevano then left the store with the phone in his possession.”

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According to the report, Luevano had dropped his New Mexico driver’s license and U.S. passport during the phone theft struggle. Authorities said they were also able to validate Luevano’s identity through his account with MetroPCS.

Footage from the store’s security cameras was also utilized to confirm what management had told the RPD.

According to the complaint, a search warrant was obtained and executed for the arrest of Luevano at his residence along the 400 block of East Forest Street. The area was immediately secured by police.

The RPD’s SWAT team was also called due to Luevano’s “assaultive behaviors” with law enforcement in the past.

According to online court records, Luevano has eight additional cases against him in both Chaves County district and magistrate courts from 2009 to Oct. 30, 2017. Such charges include resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; possession of a controlled substance; battery against a household member; and multiple instances of battery upon a peace officer.

The officer on scene at Luevano’s home gave commands for him to exit the residence for over an hour, police said.

“Once the search warrant was obtained for the residence, the SWAT team made entry into the residence,” an officer wrote. “Mr. Luevano was located and he refused to comply with the orders of the officers.”

Police said a Taser was used as a means to gain control of Luevano.

“Mr. Luevano continued to resist officers,” the complaint states. “He was taken to the ground and finally placed in handcuffs.”

After Luevano was placed in the back of a police unit, he was read his Miranda rights and spoke with authorities.

The suspect told the RPD he had walked into the store because his current phone was broken and he wanted to get a new one, and that he had used his sister’s credit card to attempt to pay for the new cellphone.

When asked about the altercation with him taking the phone from the general manager, Luevano chose not to speak.

After further questioning, according to the criminal complaint, Luevano told authorities while he shouldn’t have struggled over the phone, he did feel robbed due, noting the insurance he had on his phone.

Luevano is charged with a third-degree felony of robbery and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Luevano’s preliminary hearing was Wednesday morning before Magistrate Court Judge K. C. Rogers.

Luevano is being represented by public defender Jared Garner Kallunki and is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.

The case was bound over Wednesday to Fifth Judicial District court.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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