Suspect was arrested by sheriff's deputies Sunday morning

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FARMINGTON — A San Juan County man is accused of stealing a pickup truck, taking $3,000 in cash from the vehicle and abandoning the vehicle in the hills outside Aztec.

Christopher Velazquez, 28, is accused of vehicle theft, auto burglary and larceny, according to court records.

Velazquez did not have legal representation Wednesday afternoon.

A deputy for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was dispatched around 11:01 a.m. on Sept. 17 to an area near the FedEx warehouse near Aztec at the end of Country Road 3003, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. An Aztec Police Department officer who was also at the scene had requested a deputy since the area is outside the Aztec city limits.

The male victim told the deputy he had placed all his belongings in the truck, and he was staying at a friend's house in Bloomfield on the night of Sept. 15.

He had left a set of his truck keys in the common area of the house, and they were missing when he woke up the next day.

The victim told the deputy he believed it was Velazquez who had stolen the vehicle, explaining he had seen the suspect around his friend's house when he was staying there.

The vehicle was found by the victim while he was driving to a relative's house and noticed it in the hills. Items not belonging to the victim were found in the truck, including a water bottle and a car seat.

The victim noticed $3,000 in cash was missing from a seat-back pocket on the passenger's side of the vehicle. His cellphone also was missing.

A detective arrived at the scene and examined shoe impressions left at the scene. The deputy and the detective followed the impressions to a nearby residence on County Road 3003.

Tire treads similar to those from the truck and shoe impressions believed to the suspect's were found near the residence, according to the court documents.

Four adults in the residence were removed, detained and questioned separately.

Two of the adults, a male and female, told nearly identical stories to the investigators, according to court documents. They said Velazquez showed up at the residence in the truck and drove them to a Walmart in Farmington for groceries. Velazquez allegedly got the vehicle stuck on the way home from Walmart and abandoned it.

The case was filed on Sept. 19 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

The suspect was arrested Sunday morning, according to Sheriff's Office Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln.

Velazquez's first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court was Monday morning.

He was being held on a no-bond hold at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Velazquez's preliminary hearing is set for the morning of Oct. 11 in Aztec 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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