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Santa Fe man arrested in string of car break-ins

August 19, 2018

What would you do with handcuffs, a child’s backpack full of school supplies and a set of Chinese kitchen knives?

That’s a question for Jeremiah Sustaita, 20, who Santa Fe Police arrested on Friday night on a warrant accusing him of a string of car break-ins in a subdivision off Agua Fría street.

Sustaita is facing three charges of felony motor vehicle theft after police say he broke into three cars near his home on Via del Sol last Thursday.

According to an affidavit for Sustaita’s arrest, one car theft victim works for the New Mexico State Penitentiary and had his vest, belt, handcuffs, badge and pepper spray stolen from his car, which he told police he might have left unlocked.

Down the street, a woman told police that her car had been rummaged through and her child’s backpack full of school supplies was taken. Day shift officers on the case bought the child a new backpack and supplies, Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said in an email Saturday.

And, on nearby Via del Cielo, the affidavit says, a man reported kitchen knives were stolen from his truck.

Meanwhile, a home surveillance video shows two men walking down the street and checking door handles, eventually discovering the unlocked car with the school supplies inside, rummaging through the vehicle and “running away with [a] child’s backpack,” Valdez said in the email.

According to Sustaita’s arrest warrant, another homeowner had video that appears to show the same men who stole the child’s backpack carrying the bag of kitchen knives.

Police connected Sustaita to the case, the affidavit for his arrest says, when one of the theft victims recognized the man in the video as one of the neighbors. One of the suspects, the affidavit says, is wearing the same clothes that Sustaita has on in a Facebook photo: a hooded sweatshirt with two dolphins on the front.

The Santa Fe Police SWAT team helped arrest Sustaita, Valdez said, but police were still looking for the second suspect.

Valdez asked that anyone with information about the break-ins contact Oficer Rebecca Hildebrant at 505-428-3710.

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