Fruitland suspect arrested in connection with Jan. 25 incident


FARMINGTON — A Fruitland man has been arrested and accused of robbing a Kirtland gas station at gunpoint and taking more than $250 in cash.

Santangelo Sims, 30, is accused of a second-degree felony count of armed robbery, according to court records.

He is accused of robbing the Giant gas station at 4151 U.S. Highway 64 in Kirtland on Jan. 25, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Sarah Field, Sims' public defender, declined comment on the case.

A deputy for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was dispatched around 10:08 p.m. on Jan. 25 to the gas station on a report of an armed robbery.

An employee stated a man later identified as Sims came to the counter with a bag of cookies, then pulled a gun out of his pocket. The employee stated she froze, then tapped another employee on the shoulder, who gave Sims the money from the drawer. The bag of cookies was secured as evidence.

Sims allegedly exited the store to the east, then headed south toward a field behind the store, according to court documents.

The employees said they were unable to provide a good description of the suspect because he had hidden his face with his coat. Sims allegedly stole about $263 from the register.

The detective reviewing the video surveillance footage stated it was of poor quality, and it was hard to get a good facial description.

Investigators caught a break on July 17 when a confidential source identified Sims as the alleged suspect. The source stated Sims allegedly had gotten drunk and bragged about robbing a gas station, then fleeing on foot into a field south of the store.

Sims allegedly claimed he entered a vehicle driven by relative parked "next to a canal," according to court documents. The source reached out to the Sheriff's Office after seeing a post about the incident on the agency's Facebook page.

The detective then requested Sims' fingerprint cards from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center. A crime scene investigator was asked to send Sims' fingerprint cards and the fingerprints lifted from the bag of cookies to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety forensic lab.

A lab report received on Oct. 1 confirmed the fingerprints lifted from the bag of cookies matched those of Sims, according to court documents.

After Sims' was arrested on Nov. 2, he gave a full confession to having committed the alleged crime, according to according to Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln of the Sheriff's Office.

Sims was being held without bond pending trial following a hearing today in Aztec District Court.

His preliminary hearing is set for Thursday morning 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

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