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When a victim of property theft couldn’t identify his stolen snow blower other than by seeing it, Los Alamos police detectives decided to help make it easier for community members to reclaim stolen property.
Det. Sgt. Federico Rascon and detectives Ron Binion, Shari Mills and Jeremy Duran have prepared a program in which residents can request a security assessment of their homes. They also will consult on the most effective manner for cataloging, marking and photographing household items in the event of theft in order to streamline the reclamation process. This also will increase the chance of recovering items taken across state lines.
“We’ll go out to the home and work with the resident to help ensure their home is as secure as possible. We’ll provide instruction for marking possessions and provide an engraver for the residents’ use,” Rascon said during an interview Thursday.
Mills explained that stolen items properly cataloged and marked could be entered into the National Crime Information Center. When those items are confiscated across state lines, the law enforcement agency inputting the make, model and serial number will see that the item was stolen in Los Alamos.
“It’s very important that the cataloged list and photographs or video tape of a person’s property be housed away from the home in a bank lock box or other secure location,” Rascon said.
Some property owners in Los Alamos recently went through a number of outdoor shed break-ins. The first was reported Nov. 19, with a rash of 22 more during December.
“When we photograph a crime scene we start with the big picture, such as the overall exterior of a shed that’s been broken into and work down to individual shots from there,” Mills said. “That’s a good way for residents to photograph their belongings, too.”
State police recently discovered in Española a number of items reported missing from Los Alamos sheds. LAPD detectives have been making trips to that location to match items with local victims but it’s been difficult because most items have no identifying marks, Duran said.
“We want to help our residents learn how to better protect their property and how to properly mark it,” he said. “Some items don’t have model or serial numbers but they can be marked by a symbol or other marking for later identification. While Los Alamos is a relatively safe community, thefts do occur so we really want to encourage residents to lock their homes, sheds and vehicles.”
A suspect involved in the initial discovery of stolen items found in Española is under investigation and the detectives said they are pursuing additional leads in the case as well.
Rascon supervises the Criminal Investigations Division in the Los Alamos Police Department. His detectives investigate various types of crimes but focus mainly on those crimes that require special knowledge, skill and equipment, or that can require a large amount of time not typically available to patrol officers.
At least two of his detectives specialize in child abuse investigations and narcotic investigations. They also conduct public education presentations and collaborate with regional task forces.
To schedule a security assessment and property-marking interview, contact the LAPD Criminal Investigations Division at