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Juveniles Charged in Burglary, Extreme Animal Cruelty and Auto Theft 2018

Las Cruces police charged three juveniles who are suspected of breaking into a daycare center last weekend, mutilating three goldfish and stealing a passenger van that belongs to the daycare.

The three boys are each charged with one count of non-residential burglary, extreme cruelty to animals, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, auto burglary and four counts of conspiracy. All of the charges are felony counts.

Investigators believe the three boys – ages 13, 12 and 11 – gained access to the Discovery Child Development Center at 995 Farney Lane sometime late on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 1. The three boys are suspected of removing three goldfish from a tank, stomping on two of them and smearing their innards across the tile. The third goldfish was found smashed to death on a nearby countertop.

The juveniles are suspected of then stealing the keys to a van belonging to the daycare and taking the vehicle from the parking lot.

While driving around in the stolen van the three boys picked up an 11-year-old friend, another boy, who accompanied the trio and is suspected of participating in their joyriding session. The fourth boy is charged with felony counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and conspiracy.

Investigators believe all four boys participated in driving the van as they drove around the south side of Las Cruces and onto the campus of New Mexico State University. They are suspected of stopping at several locations where they threw rocks, busting out windows on several vehicles. Charges for those incidents are pending.

A New Mexico State University police officer, investigating reports of vandalism on campus, located the stolen van traveling on Union Avenue. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the van near midnight and determined the four occupants matched the descriptions of the vandalism suspects. The NMSU officer contacted LCPD since the van was stolen from within city limits.

Las Cruces police charged the four boys on Sunday. The boys were subsequently turned over to the custody of their parents.