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Two Arrested and Stolen Vehicle Recovered 2018

Las Cruces police arrested a woman suspected of being in possession of a stolen vehicle early Friday morning.

Melanie Joy Perez, 24, of the 1600 block of Casita Court, is charged with one count of receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle. The charge is a fourth-degree felony. She was also served with a failure to appear warrant from Municipal Court.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, a Las Cruces police officer spotted a previously reported stolen red Mitsubishi sedan at the Big Chile Inn, 2160 W. Picacho Ave. The officer set up surveillance of the vehicle and, shortly after 3 a.m., spotted a woman leaving a motel room and placing backpacks into the Mitsubishi.

As the woman readied to drive away, the officer spotted a man approach the vehicle’s passenger-side door. When the officer approached the car, the man attempted to flee and ran back into the motel room.

The officer apprehended the man, later identified as 28-year-old Johnny Burnside, after a short foot pursuit.

The woman initially indicated the Mitsubishi was her father’s but later said she did not know whose car it is. Police learned the car was reported stolen Nov. 29 from a local health care business.

Perez was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center where she’s initially being held without bond. Burnside was arrested on a pair of warrants from the adult probation office.