ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man accused of a deadly joyride when he was only 14, is back behind bars for another car theft. The Albuquerque Police Department says the 19-year-old was caught in an auto theft round-up last week after he was linked to a bait car.
Police say they spotted Matthew Jaramillo in a stolen car with plates taken from an APD bait car. When they caught up to him, they say he also had a gun on him. APD says cases like this and the others in the round-up could easily put people in danger.
“There’s unknowing citizens out there that are being victimized or may not be aware of the kind of danger that they’re in whenever these auto theft offenders are out trying to commit their crimes or get away from law enforcement,” said Lt. Aaron Jones with APD’s Criminal Enforcement Division. “With auto theft, oftentimes, we are arresting the same people over and over, and there are often times they have multiple auto thefts in their history. It’s also very common for us to arrest someone with experience with other types of crime, violent crime with narcotics-related offenses.”
In 2016, a then-14-year-old Jaramillo was arrested for a car theft that left an Albuquerque man dead. Police say Jaramillo stole a car, picked up a prostitute, and ran over 46-year-old Richard Sisneros, dragging him down the street. Sisneros died the next morning. Police say Jaramillo admitted to hitting and killing the man, but two years ago, a judge dismissed all charges after siding with a psychologist who said Jaramillo was not mentally competent to stand trial.
Following Thursday’s auto theft arrests, KRQE noticed – even though his auto theft charge was dropped – Jaramillo wasn’t the only repeat offender taken into custody. Larry Chiefly, 42, had previous auto theft charges and three local felony warrants out for his arrest. Aliciana Rousseau-Lopez, 21, was with Jaramillo at the time of his arrest and also had a misdemeanor warrant before she was taken into custody. Robert Mendoza, 31, and Stephanie Wilkinson, 24, were also arrested for auto theft Thursday, as Mendoza had two felony warrants at the time. Police say the sixth arrest, 18-year-old Travis Garcia-Palmer, had cocaine and a gun on him when he was arrested.
APD says the only way to combat repeat offenders being let back out on the streets is to keep presenting solid cases to the court for conviction. They also have advice for locals to prevent becoming a victim, including never leaving your keys in the car or leaving it running unattended, and always keeping it locked.
“I think it’s a concern for all of us who are also citizens in Albuquerque. When someone is arrested multiple times and they’re released and they continue their criminal behavior,” said Lt. Jones. “As a police department, we need to be doing our due diligence that we’re presenting the best possible cases that we can. Combatting that very frustrating repeat offender problem, the only way we can do it is continuing to arrest those who are committing the crimes and presenting great cases for prosecution.”
KRQE reached out to the District Attorney’s office for comment, but they were unable to interview, noting that Jaramillo’s record is sealed. The state has filed a petition for pretrial detention. Jaramillo will be back in front of a judge Thursday afternoon for that hearing.
Jaramillo and his family have been in the news before. His mother, Cynthia, was one of the victims of David Parker Ray — known as the Toy Box Killer — and she escaped his trailer in Elephant Butte back in 1999.