Search nets stolen merchandise, drugs

Craig Police found cocaine and an estimated $15,000 to $25,000 in stolen merchandise Tuesday after they searched the home of a nighttime janitorial worker employed by Kmart.

Police arrested a man tentatively identified as Juan Montoya-Carbajal, 44, when they executed a search warrant at his west Sixth Street apartment. Police are awaiting the results of fingerprint comparisons to confirm Montoya-Carbajal's identity.

Montoya-Carbajal is being held without bond at the Moffat County Jail on charges of felony theft, possession and distribution of drugs, possession of forged instruments and a misdemeanor charge of false reporting to authorities, according to a police report.

Officer Sue Burns was dispatched to Kmart Tuesday. The management suspected Montoya-Carbajal, a subcontractor who cleaned floors after hours, of stealing from the store.

"They had suspicions for awhile,"Burns said.

Kmart's loss-prevention manager, David Ross, had obtained videotape evidence of Montoya-Carbajal's alleged thefts, Burns said.

"David Ross did a good job of documenting the thefts internally," Burns said. His records of items allegedly stolen between Nov.19 and Nov. 24 helped police estimate the value of the merchandise. Ross' evidence was a crucial piece that helped her get a search warrant quickly, Burns said.

Police searched Montoya-Carbajal's home at 3:35 p.m. They found "heaps and heaps of stuff,"Burns said. Police spent four hours processing the scene, which was strewn with "piles and piles" of clothing, along with numerous other items.

At a press conference today, police displayed a representative sample of the evidence. It included a television and a DVD player, many DVD and VHS movies, several remote-control toys, a Sony PlayStation, a blender, a vacuum cleaner, many cartons of cigarettes and much more.

Police said the display amounted to approximately one-quarter of the allegedly stolen merchandise they recovered.

Officers said they found "40 or 50" stuffed animals and about $400 in cigarettes alone.

Burns said Montoya-Carbajal allegedly smuggled some of the merchandise on his janitor's cart and carried other items on his person.

Craig Police Sgt. Bill Leonard commended Burns' investigation that quickly proceeded from the initial call to an arrest in a matter of hours.

"Evidence technicians will have a long day booking (the items) into evidence," Leonard said.

Police also recovered 2.8 grams (including packaging) of cocaine that was wrapped in paper bindles allegedly for distribution.

According to the police report, "Possible additional charges against Montoya-Carbajal, other residents of Montoya-Carbajal's apartment and as yet un-named suspects residing out-of-state are pending."

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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