Two Home Depot shoplifters charged

News from the GA:

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Friday announced the indictments of retail organized crime (ORC) defendants Michael Arnold and Jayden Wheeler.

Beginning in December 2021, Arnold and Wheeler brazenly stole nearly $10,000 in equipment, including chainsaws and drill sets, from a Home Depot west of Albuquerque in four separate incidents.

On January 7, 2022, Arnold presented a mace box to deter Home Depot staff from interfering with their theft.

Arnold has been charged with 10 counts and Wheeler faces 11 counts, including robbery, shoplifting and conspiracy.

“Organized retail criminals who threaten New Mexico workers with violence to carry out their repeated thefts will continue to be targeted, and I am satisfied with Judge Leos’ decision,” Attorney General Balderas said.

Arnold has had 23 warrants issued for his arrest over the past five years and is in custody. Just hours after the indictments were returned, Arnold attended a hearing on the state’s motion for remand in which Judge Leos determined that Arnold was a danger to the community and that no condition of release would reasonably protect the community. Judge Leos granted the state’s motion based on the facts of this case and Arnold’s long criminal history, noting Arnold’s disregard for the law.

The cases were investigated by the new ORC task force. The investigation involved the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, the Albuquerque Police Department and retail community asset protection personnel.

Although Arnold and Wheeler have been charged, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.

Those cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Ashley Schweizer and Jonathan Gardner.

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