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Suspect has active warrant for an alleged felony embezzlement case

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FARMINGTON — A Farmington man with three pending criminal cases, including accusations of stealing equipment from a Hilcorp natural gas well site, has an active arrest warrant for failing to appear in court for a felony embezzlement case.

James Jolly, 36, is accused of a third-degree felony count of larceny along with fourth-degree felony counts of embezzlement and breaking and entering across three separate cases, according to court records.

He is accused of stealing a stainless-steel chemical injection tank worth about $9,500 from a natural gas well site in the Middle Mesa area and failing to return an Apple MacBook Air laptop computer to the Farmington Municipal School District from a student who disenrolled, according to court documents.

Ruth Wheeler, Jolly's attorney for the larceny and breaking and entering cases, declined to comment on the cases.

Jolly failed to appear at a Dec. 16 hearing in Farmington Magistrate Court for the embezzlement case and has an active warrant for his arrest, as of the morning of Dec. 20, according to court documents.

The larceny case stems from an investigation launched in April 2018.

A San Juan County Sheriff's Office detective on April 25, 2018, received a phone call to meet a Hilcorp Energy Company employee at the intersection of County Road 4004 and 4000 near the New Mexico-Colorado state line regarding the theft of a stainless-steel chemical injection tank.

The employee took the detective to an area where the tank had been located in northeast San Juan County.

A single set of tire impressions indicated that a vehicle, most likely a pick-up truck, had used to load up the tank. Only one pair of shoe impressions were found at the scene.

Two cigarette butts were found at the scene that appeared to have been recently deposited there. It was photographed and collected as evidence.

The detective on July 30, 2018, received a report stating no identifiable DNA was found on the evidence. The DNA profile was then entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

It was on Nov. 27 the detective received a notification that CODIS had hit of "high stringency" that identified Jolly as the suspect.

Later that day, two detectives drove by Jolly's last known address and saw a tank that appeared to be the same as the stolen property.

Jolly allegedly evaded detectives and hid in his home on Dec. 5, when they tried to serve a search warrant to collect DNA swabs from him. The DNA swabs were collected at a later date.

Jolly's former employer confirmed to a detective the defendant was working on a nearby well location in a remote location of the county near the scene of the alleged larceny.

In the embezzlement case, a former high school student failed to return his school-issued laptop. It was reported to the Farmington Police Department on Nov. 11.

A student's parent has to sign a contract, stating if the student fails to return the laptop, law enforcement will be contacted within five days of the student being disenrolled. The computer is valued at $900.

Attempts by Farmington police to contact Jolly through the phone or in-person at his residence were not successful.

Jolly's preliminary hearing on the larceny case is scheduled for the morning of Dec. 26 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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