One fugitive's sweet tooth landed him in jail on more than a dozen charges after an employee spotted him allegedly eating a donut from a local store and then trying to leave without paying.
Gregory Mendoza, 35, was charged by Hobbs police with shoplifting and concealing identity, both petty misdemeanors. He was booked at the Hobbs City Jail.
He was also arrested on warrants for cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony; aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer and criminal failure to appear, both fourth-degree felonies; concealing identity, drive while license revoked, driving while license suspended or revoked, three counts of criminal failure to appear, two counts of reckless driving, improper use of evidence of registration and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, all misdemeanors; display of plates, driving on roadways laned for traffic, improper use of evidence of registration, two counts of obedience to traffic control device, seat belts, turning movements and required signals, all petty misdemeanors.
According to the criminal complaint, Hobbs police responded around 2:20 p.m. Monday to the 5400 block of North Lovington Highway after a shoplifting report. A store employee told the responding officer that Mendoza had taken a donut and eaten it before trying to leave the store. Mendoza allegedly admitted to eating the donut and gave police a different first name and claimed to be 18 years old.
The officer found Mendoza’s driver’s license during his arrest and discovered there were six different arrest warrants for him. The warrants included Eddy County magistrate and district courts, Hobbs Municipal Court and San Miguel County Magistrate Court with bonds totaling more than $20,000.
New Mexico court records indicate Mendoza has 10 pending charges out of Carlsbad Magistrate Court from July, including third-degree cruelty to animals.
A criminal complaint filed by Carlsbad police lists a Loving, N.M., address for Mendoza. It states an officer tried to pull Mendoza over on July 18 in Carlsbad and alleges he did not stop. During the pursuit, the complaint states Mendoza drove on the wrong side of the road, went through several stop signs and drove recklessly. The officer identified Mendoza and the vehicle was registered to him out of Loving.
“(The officer) observed a yellow-nose pit bull standing in the bed of the truck during this incident,” the complaint reads. “The dog would occasionally pop its head up and was in obvious signs of distress.”
Mendoza also has charges pending in Las Vegas Magistrate Court, including the charge of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer. Records reflect Mendoza has felony convictions dating back to 2002, including third-degree child abuse and fourth-degree felon in possession of a firearm.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.