N.M. Police Nab 11- and 13-Year-Old Boys Accused of Violent Crime Spree

June 11, 2024
The two boys—members of a group called the "Kia Boyz"—were charged by Albuquerque police in cases that included shootings, auto thefts and a smash-and-grab robbery at a convenience store.

By Matthew Reisen

Source Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

Neighbors in a Northeast Albuquerque neighborhood told police the boys had been harassing them for weeks — throwing rocks through windows and slashing tires.

Ex-girlfriends told officers they stopped dating the boys when they began stealing cars and carrying guns, posting videos of crimes on social media.

Police say in the later part of May the alleged group's crimes escalated from property damage to drive-by shootings.

On Friday, detectives charged two of the boys, an 11- and 13-year-old, in several cases that included shootings, auto thefts and crashing a car into a convenience store to steal cigarettes and alcohol.

The pair, who the Journal will refer to as Boy 1 and Boy 2, are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting into an occupied dwelling, aggravated battery and unlawful possession of a handgun by a minor.

Boy 1 is also charged with non-residential burglary and criminal damage to property over $1,000 for the smash-and-grab burglary.

Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said the pair are in a group that calls itself the "Kia Boyz" — mirroring a nationwide trend of young people stealing Kia and Hyundai vehicles and posting videos of their crimes to social media.

Boy 2 has been booked into the Bernalillo County juvenile detention center.

Gallegos said that due to the age of Boy 1, he was placed in a facility run by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.

APD Chief Harold Medina said in a statement that officers "faced roadblock after roadblock" looking for a place to keep Boy 1 in custody.

"Fortunately the governor, District Attorney's Office and CYFD stepped in and helped us," he said. "I hope the Legislature will take action to deal with the growing issue of young juveniles who are using guns and stealing cars, while trying to get attention on social media."

Court records show the pair were joined by others in some of the alleged incidents, but it is unclear if anyone else has been charged.

Residents in a Northeast Albuquerque neighborhood where many of the incidents occurred, and where Boy 2 lives, told police a group of boys had been terrorizing them for weeks.

According to charging documents filed in Bernalillo County Children's Court:

The string of incidents began on May 5, when a man called 911 to report his Kia stolen from his home in the 9000 block of Cordova NE, near Moon and Menaul. The car was found abandoned a few blocks from the man's home an hour later.

"The vehicle was damaged and left in a parking lot," according to court records.

On May 12, around 8:30 a.m., a woman on the same block reported four boys in a Kia threw rocks at her neighbor and — when she told them to leave — threw a rock at her. The woman told police the boys had been throwing rocks through her neighbor's window and slashing their tires "the past few weeks."

Several hours later, 12-year-old sisters called 911 to report Boy 1 and Boy 2, their former boyfriends, throwing rocks at their home. The sisters told police they broke up with the boys "when they began stealing cars and carrying guns."

The girls showed officers videos of the boys stealing vehicles and shooting guns and said Boy 1 and Boy 2 were upset that one of the girls was dating another boy in the neighborhood.

On May 17, police responded to a burglary at the Daily Needs Store on Indian School, west of Tramway, and found a stolen Kia backed into the building. The owner showed police video of a group of boys crashing the Kia into the store, causing $15,000 in damage, and stealing cigarettes and alcohol from inside.

Police identified Boy 1 from store security as he recorded the smash-and-grab before joining in the burglary.

"He shows a clear pattern of misconduct that is escalating in violence," according to court records. "(His) actions are creating a dangerous situation for the citizens of Albuquerque and himself."

On May 29, the grandfather of the 14-year-old boy dating Boy 2's ex-girlfriend called 911 to report being shot at by a group in a Kia. It was the same house the boys were throwing rocks at weeks earlier.

The grandfather told police he told the boys to leave when they were parked out front and they "quickly came back" and fired at him. The man said he recognized two of the boys as Boy 1 and Boy 2.

The grandson told police he had been friends with the pair before he started dating his neighbor, who is the ex of Boy 2. The grandfather told police the boys had been harassing them "for months," breaking windows and slashing tires.

On June 1, police responded to a shooting at a home in the 3700 block of General Chennault, near Comanche and Wyoming. Officers found a boy who had been shot in the hand and he told them Boy 1, his friend, had done it.

The boy told police Boy 1 texted him to say he was going to shoot him, but he didn't think Boy 1 was "being real." The boy said Boy 1 came to his home and, once in his bedroom, put a gun to his head.

The boy told police he pushed the gun "out of his face" and Boy 1 pulled the trigger, shooting him through the hand. Police said the bullet then went through a wall and broke the back window of a passing car.

While searching the home, police found the handgun and a police vest stolen during the May 24 burglary of an Albuquerque police sergeant's vehicle. The suspect in the burglary was driving a stolen Kia.

On the social media of Boy 1, police found a video of him holding the gun used to shoot the boy in the hand.

"Through information from several witnesses, victim statements and surveillance video, detectives were able to identify (Boy 1) and secure an arrest warrant," APD spokesman Gallegos said.


(c)2024 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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