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$38,000 in lockbox stolen from Santa Fe business owner’s truck

November 20, 2018

A Santa Fe man is offering a $2,500 cash reward for anyone with information about who stole $38,000 in cash — including $14,000 in payroll money — from his truck in broad daylight.

“This is the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving dinner from my work crew,” said Julian Moreno, owner of Always Construction Services of Santa Fe.

Moreno said the vehicular break-in occurred late Friday afternoon as he was conducting business in the Bank of America on the 4000 block of Rodeo Road. But he said he believes the suspect may have been a man he saw sitting in a car near his company truck at the nearby Wells Fargo bank branch on Rodeo Road earlier that afternoon.

Moreno said he entered the Wells Fargo branch first to cash some checks he had received for some recent construction projects, leaving a lockbox with other checks and the $38,000 in cash in his truck parked outside. But once inside, he realized he needed some of the checks that were within that box to give to the bank teller, so he returned to his truck, opened the door and began fiddling with the box.

“I was hiding my actions; I wasn’t trying to be obvious,” he said.

After finishing his business at Wells Fargo, he got back into the truck and noticed a man with his head down parked in a car right next to his truck — someone who may have seen him with the cash box.

Moreno then drove to the Bank of America where, he said, he happened to park in front of a video surveillance camera.

He said he once again left the box inside his truck, despite the fact that it was holding more money than he usually carries. Once inside the Bank of America, he joined a long line of people, including some he knew. When he returned to his truck, he saw the rear passenger side window of his truck smashed with glass on the ground.

“I opened the door to the truck, and the box was gone,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I broke down crying. It broke my heart.”

He said he then entered the bank and asked the manager to check the video and call the police. He then returned to the other bank to do the same thing. His hope, he said, is that between the two video cameras, there may be an image of the perpetrator.

Santa Fe Police Department Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said Moreno asked police to access the video footage, which will not be available until Monday.

“Right now we don’t have any suspect information, but we’ll be reviewing the video footage,” Valdez said.

Moreno said his employees have been very understanding, but he worries that some people may think he staged the event and stole the money, another reason he wants to see the video footage.

He said he is less interested in recovering the money than in ensuring that police catch the perpetrator.

“We have to stop whoever did this from becoming the Grinch who stole Christmas too,” he said.

In the interim, he plans to arrange a bank loan to ensure his 15 employees get paid.

“I don’t want this to ruin the holiday for them or me,” he said.

Julian Moreno of Always Construction Services said he will be posting a $2,500 reward on his Facebook page for any information leading to the arrest of any suspects. He said anyone with information also can call him at 505-577-8503.

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