Home News Local News Case of tools stolen from hotel parking lot heads to court

Case of tools stolen from hotel parking lot heads to court

A man takes items out of the back of a black pickup truck in the parking lot of the Days Inn on North Main Street. The still image was from video camera footage in the parking lot of the motel on Aug. 1. Dennis Aguilar allegedly stole more than $2,000 in tools from the pickup. Aguilar’s case was bound over to district court Oct. 3 after a hearing in Chaves County Magistrate Court. (Submitted Photo)

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A larceny case from August involving more than $2,000 in tools stolen from the back of a pickup truck will head to district court.

Chaves County Magistrate Court Judge K.C. Rogers found there was sufficient evidence to move forward with the case against Daniel Aguilar during an Oct. 3 preliminary examination and ordered that the case be bound over for trial in district court.

Aguilar faces a charge of larceny over $500 but not more than $2,500, a fourth degree felony, for allegedly stealing $2,200 worth of property from the back of a 2015 Toyota Tundra on Aug. 1. in the parking lot of the Days Inn at 1310 North Main Street.

“Everything I use for my daily work was all taken out of the back of my truck,” said Christopher Graff, the truck’s owner, who took the stand.

Graff and Roswell Police Detective Chris Bradley were called to the stand by Matthew Bonniwell of the Chaves County District Attorney’s office.

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The defense, represented by Franz Michael Von Hoffmann, did not call any witnesses.

Bradley told the court under questioning by Bonniwell that he viewed surveillance video of the incident.

He said the video showed a white four-door vehicle pull into the Day’s Inn parking lot before two male subjects emerged from the vehicle: one from the driver’s side and another from the passenger’s side.

The video showed the passenger’s side occupant walk north where a few trucks were parked, which he began to look through, but did not seize any property from.

The driver of the vehicle — identified as Aguilar — went to the west side of the parking area where Graff’s truck was parked. Bradley said the video then showed Aguilar take items from the back of Graff’s truck and hand some of them to his accomplice, and take the items back to the vehicle they drove into the parking lot.

Bradley said that the two then climbed back into the vehicle with the property and drove away. The whole incident took place in a very short period of time, he added.

Bradley was asked by Bonniwell if when viewing the video, he got a good glimpse of the two individuals on it.

“Absolutely, the video is very clear,” Bradley said.

Later under questioning by Von Hoffmann, Bradley was asked if he had enhanced the video. He said he had not and that it was another officer who identified Aguilar.

Bradley said he also overheard a phone conversation from Aguilar to his wife from jail on Sept. 14.

During the conversation Aguilar told his wife that he didn’t think he should plead guilty and that some batteries he had stolen from the truck were at a house on Lea Avenue.

He added that during the call Aguilar made reference to his wife getting rid of some of the items.

Von Hoffmann though said he did not believe enough evidence was presented to show it was Aguilar who seized the items.

“I don’t believe the state has met the burden as far as identification of the individual, specifically as the individual who took these items out of this vehicle,” Van Hoffman said.

After Rogers announced the decision to have the case bound over to district court, Von Hoffman asked him for a reduction in the $10,000 bond needed to be paid by Aguilar to get out of the Chaves County Detention Center pending trial.

Von Hoffmann said Aguilar has five children between the ages of 7 and 16, one of which was ill, and that Aguilar’s family did not have the wherewithal to put up the money.

Rogers denied the request. He added that Aguilar already had two past failures to appear and he fears that easing Aguilar’s terms of release could give him an opportunity to break into another vehicle.

As of Friday, the Chaves County Detention Center’s Jail Population Report listed Aguilar as still being housed at the center.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.