Suspect had probation violation warrants issued for his arrest

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FARMINGTON — An Aztec man accused of stealing a vehicle from a Farmington business has been arrested in Texas with the vehicle.

Brandon Melton, 33, is accused of a fourth-degree felony count of nonresidential burglary and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, according to court records.

Melton is accused of burglarizing Star Collision at 3834 E. Main St. in Farmington on or around Dec. 7 and stealing a white Buick sedan from the business, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. The vehicle is owned by the business and is a loaner vehicle for customers.

Melton was a former "helper" of the owner of the building that Star Collision operates in and had knowledge of where a key was hidden in the building, the affidavit states.

Attempts to contact Ruth Wheeler, Melton's public defender, were not successful.

Melton was extradited to New Mexico on Monday from Texas after being arrested in Carson County, Texas, according to court documents.

The business was unaware the vehicle had been stolen until it was contacted by a Texas law enforcement officer on Dec. 8, stating it had been found about 30 miles east of Amarillo, Texas, after the arrest of Melton on outstanding warrants and other charges.

While speaking to a Texas deputy after his arrest, Melton stated he was going to live with his father in Oklahoma, and wanted to start clean and get away from drugs, the affidavit states

A Star Collision employee told a Farmington Police Department community service officer on Dec. 7 she had arrived at the business that morning and found one of the bay doors open, according to court documents, although she did not notice the vehicle missing that day. It was a day later that the same employee contacted Farmington police and told them about the stolen vehicle after she had been advised by the Texas officer it had been located there.

A probation violation warrant had been issued for Melton on Dec. 6 across five cases in district court. The cases include convictions for trafficking controlled substances, residential and nonresidential burglary.

The warrants were issued the same day the San Juan County District Attorney's Office filed a third motion to revoke Melton's probation and have him serve the remainder of his sentence in state prison, according to a copy of the motion.

An April 10 probation violation hearing is set for Aztec District Court.

The motion states Melton violated more than one of the conditions of his release, including failing to report to his probation officer.

He made his first appearance Tuesday in Farmington Magistrate Court and was incarcerated Friday at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a no-bond hold.

Melton's preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday morning in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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