Man accused of etching store windows near Santa Fe Plaza

New Mexico

SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – An Espanola man is charged with doing serious damage to several high-end Santa Fe businesses. It was all caught on camera, and an employee of one of the vandalized stores said the suspect didn’t try very hard to stay under the radar.

“I can’t start to comprehend why someone would want to go around and write their name on other peoples’ property,” Bella Fine Jewelry and Art Sales Manager Christopher Garcia said.

The front glass window of Garcia’s jewelry store was vandalized early Tuesday morning by a man with an etching tool.

It didn’t end at Bella Fine Jewelry and Art. Online court records show Gilbert Valdez has at least 10 charges of criminal damage worth over $1,000 for vandalism to the doors and windows of high-end stores near the Plaza.

“It was just a senseless act,” Garcia added. “I guess it’s a preferred tool of etchers. One side has a marker and the other side had some kind of a solution that burns into the glass.”

While the suspect appeared to try to be discrete during the crime, Garcia said the suspect unknowingly gave himself up not even 12 hours later after running into him just a couple blocks from the store.

“A young individual asked me if I had the time,” Garcia explained. “I gave him the time and my mind just like clicked. To be honest I cursed a little bit.”

Garcia said he immediately recognized Valdez from the surveillance video and called Santa Fe police, who booked Valdez as he was waiting at a bus stop.

The county said Valdez is being held in jail until his pre-trial hearing in September for a separate case, in which he is charged with battery on a household member.

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