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Artesia men arrested in connection with August purse snatching

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ARTESIA — Two Artesia men have been arrested in connection with a purse-snatching incident that occurred in early August.

At around 11 a.m. Aug. 2, Artesia Police Department offi cers were dispatched to the area of 26th and Main streets in reference to a stolen purse. The thief was described as a male wearing a white shirt and blue hat, and he was being followed by the victim as he ran west behind Comfort Inn & Suites, then south toward the Moose Lodge.

Other officers reported spotting a known subject identified as Eric Grado, 42, of Artesia, in the backyard of a residence in the 2700 block of Richardson Avenue wearing a white shirt and blue hat. Officers were advised a second subject was standing at the entrance to the Comfort Inn.

Police made contact with the victim, who stated she had been purchasing ice from the nearby water station when she noticed two male subjects standing on the east side of the station. She said that after turning back toward her vehicle, she saw the subjects running west toward Comfort Inn with one holding something under his shirt.

The victim got into her vehicle and realized her purse was missing.

As she was speaking with police, the victim spotted one of the subjects at the Comfort Inn. That male, identified as John Gabriel Rodriguez, 38, of Artesia, appeared to be out of breath, according to the criminal complaint, but stated he had just been walking across the parking lot when Grado started running. He denied running or talking with Grado.

Another witness at the scene said he saw both Grado and Rodriguez running from the parking lot.

Items in the stolen purse included credit cards, a checkbook, a driver’s license, and a cell phone. The total value of the stolen items was estimated at $1,200.

Warrants were subsequently obtained for the two men. Grado was taken into custody Oct. 3 on charges of auto burglary, larceny from a motor vehicle ($500-$2,500), and conspiracy to commit auto burglary.

Rodriguez was arrested Wednesday on the same charges.

Rodriguez has yet to be arraigned. Grado is scheduled to appear for preliminary examination at 9 a.m.

Nov. 6 before Judge Jimmy C. Foster in Artesia Magistrate Court.

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