Suspect in gun shop theft tied to murder near Route 66 Casino

Crime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A murder suspect is behind bars after a crime spree of stealing cars and guns. Now, police say they’re looking for his accomplice. Police say Erick Garcia’s crime spree started Sept. 10 when a group of crooks rammed their car into the Los Ranchos Gun Shop near Osuna and Fourth. From there, things only escalated.


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“We received a call from our alarm company, I did and my manager did,” said Mark Abramson, owner of Los Ranchos Gun Shop. “We got here right away and the police were already here, waiting for us to open so they could go in and inspect the premises.”

Surveillance video shows the moment a group of crooks took an interesting approach to break into the gun shop before taking off with seven guns. It all happened around 4:30 a.m.

“It appears they broke in through an adjacent space. They actually rammed a car into a wall, went into our neighbor’s unit, then broke through two walls,” said Abramson. “They left quite a mess.”

Police now say one of those thieves, 22-year-old Erick Garcia, is involved in a murder that happened just two weeks after the break-in. According to court documents filed earlier on Friday, Garcia and an accomplice, Edgar Orona Camacho, killed a man who had car trouble, south of I-40 near the Route 66 Casino. According to the victim’s juvenile sister who was with him, Garcia and Orona Camacho helped jump Esteban Mercado-Rangel’s battery, before pulling out a gun and shooting him in the chest multiple times, then taking his car, forcing the young girl inside.

The sister — who escaped — later identified the suspects in a photo lineup. Police say after that, it wasn’t hard to pin the suspects to the murder. A search warrant for Facebook messages shows the two walking about the moments before and after the deadly robbery.

This week, cops finally nabbed Garcia for a stolen car before connecting the dots to his month-long crime spree. Police say Orona Camacho is still on the run.

“We’re happy that one of these guys at least came off the streets. It’ll be nice if they recover any of the firearms We’re just not sure that’s ever going to happen at this point,” said Abramson. “Putting seven guns on the streets is really the thing we’re most concerned about.”

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office says it’s still too early to tell if any of the stolen guns from Los Ranchos were used in the murder. The state has filed a motion to keep Garcia in jail until trial.

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