Police arrested a pair of teenagers suspected of breaking into an enclosed area at Las Cruces High School on Sunday, stealing a utility vehicle and then leading officers on a brief pursuit before they were detained.
The two teenage boys are a 15-year-old who was seen driving the utility vehicle and his 16-year-old passenger. Because of their ages, the Las Cruces police will not release their names.
Both teens are charged with a felony count of non-residential burglary and a misdemeanor count of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. The 15-year-old boy also faces felony charges of battery upon a peace officer and tampering with evidence.
Las Cruces police learned that about 6 a.m. Sunday, April 25, the two teenagers illegally entered an enclosed storage area at Las Cruces High School and stole a John Deere Gator utility vehicle. Video surveillance from the school captured images of the crime.
Later Sunday, a Las Cruces police officer spotted the John Deere Gator occupied by the two teenagers as it traveled on Espina Street near Larry Drive. The officer activated his unit’s lights and siren, but the driver of the utility vehicle failed to pull over. Near the intersection of Farney Road and Espina Street, the passenger jumped out of the vehicle and was taken into custody.
A short time later, another Las Cruces police officer located the utility vehicle hidden in bushes near the intersection of Solano Drive and Wofford Drive. The 15-year-old driver abandoned the vehicle and was seen walking away. When an officer attempted to detain the teenager, the teen punched the officer. The teen was quickly taken into custody without further incident.
Both teens were arrested. The 15-year-old teenager was booked into the juvenile section of the Dona Ana County Detention Center where he will be held, without bond, until a judge reviews his case.
Police believe two other teens – both boys – may have also been involved in part of the crime at Las Cruces High School. Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call police at (575) 526-0795.