Christmas Day burglar caught in the act |

Christmas Day burglar caught in the act

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A security alarm at the Glenwood Springs Wal-Mart store foiled a Christmas Day burglary by a former store employee, according to Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson.

Officers arrested Joel Hernandez-Quintero, 37, in the office area of the store at noon on Sunday, Dec. 25. The store was closed for Christmas Day, and no one was there working.

Wilson said the police department received an alarm at noon, and two police officers rushed to the store in south Glenwood Springs.

The store was locked up, but the officers could hear the alarm sounding inside. They circled the building and noticed an open vent on the side of the building and tools laying on the ground nearby.

“From there, they could hear noises inside, like something being pounded on with a hammer,” Wilson said.

The officers called for assistance, and soon two Garfield County sheriff’s deputies and one state trooper arrived to help secure the perimeter of the large building. The officers also contacted a store employee who had keys, who confirmed that no one was supposed to be in the store that day.

The employee arrived at the store and let two officers and one K-9 officer in through the door.

“In coming to office area, they saw the man there, wearing a black mask,” Wilson said. The officers confronted the burglar and held him at gunpoint until he was handcuffed. They then escorted him from the store.

In the office area, officers found a backpack holding several thousand dollars in cash.

Meanwhile, another police officer arrived with a second K-9 officer. Since police weren’t sure if accomplices might still be in the store, officers and both K-9s went back in the store to do a complete sweep and make sure the building was clear, Wilson said.

“He was a solo actor,” Wilson said of Hernandez.

The burglar had bashed several surveillance cameras and other parts of the store’s security system, Wilson noted, causing more than $1,000 in damage.

Wilson said Wal-Mart officials confirmed that Hernandez had worked at the store for several months, but left that job a couple of months ago.

Hernandez was lodged at the county jail on suspicion of burglary, felony theft, criminal trespass, possession of burglary tools, criminal tampering and criminal mischief. He was released on a $17,000 bond on Dec. 27.

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