CPD: Hours-long chase ends with arrest

Photo by Mechel Meek Gabriel Sandoval was arrested at the CSU San Luis Valley Research Center outside of Center after evading officers for hours on Sept. 16.

CENTER — A burglary suspect who eluded officers for hours was tased and arrested at the CSU San Luis Valley Research Center on Sept. 16, according to the Center Police Department.

On Sept. 16, CPD received a call about suspicious activity in the Central Avenue area. The call was from two separate concerned persons who believed that an older woman was being intimidated by two people. The two suspects were identified as Sarah Rodriguez, 30, and Gabriel Sandoval, 32.

CPD placed an alert call to the surrounding community in the form of a reverse 911 call, Facebook message and a push notification radio app.

The suspects fled from CPD on foot into Community Park. Officers located Rodriguez in the park where she was placed under arrest.

Another officer continued the search for the second suspect. A chase ensued of the suspect from Community Park, through Casa de Cortez and into the Frontier Trailer Park on State Highway 112.

The suspect eluded the officer who chased him over fences and through the trailer park. It was thought by CPD that the suspect was hiding somewhere within Frontier Trailer Park.

CPD called for assistance from neighboring law enforcement agencies including the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Office, the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Highway Patrol who all responded to the area to help with the search.

Officers conducted a door-to-door search but did not find the second suspect. A credible source informed CPD that the suspect was in possession of a 9mm handgun.

A separate tip also provided video from surveillance cameras of the suspect carrying a bag.

The suspect eventually emerged from where he was hiding and was tracked by officers and by citizens calling in sightings for around 2 hours.

The suspect apparently had been asking various people for rides to Monte Vista but was unable to obtain a ride. He eventually made his way to the CSU San Luis Valley Research Center on the 9N near U.S. Highway 285 south of Center.

Rio Grande County Deputies were notified of the suspect's location and officers arrived at the research center. The suspect ran from the facility but was unable to outrun officers a second time. The suspect was tased after resisting and taken into custody, according to CPD. A handgun was not located, although several stolen items were recovered.

Sandoval was charged with suspicion of several burglaries committed while fleeing including the burglary of an occupied dwelling. A fourth burglary charge is pending in Monte Vista Police from a previous incident.

Center Police Chief Dale Meek said, “The initial bag Gabriel was carrying when he first ran was not recovered. Please advise law enforcement if anyone finds an unusual bag in the areas of Central Avenue, Center Community Park, the Frontier Trailer Park or any area south of town to the CSU Facility.”

Rodriguez was jailed with four warrants from Alamosa, two warrants from Saguache County, and the new charges from CPD of suspicion of criminal mischief, from kicking out a window of a CPD patrol car while being transported after arrest.

Sandoval was jailed with four warrants from Alamosa, a warrant from Saguache County, and new charges from CPD for suspicion of resisting arrest, burglary from Saguache County, two burglaries from Rio Grande County, and possible charges from Monte Vista for burglary.

Meek said, “As you can see, we have a problem with these two committing multiple felony offenses, being released, not appearing, and committing more felony offenses but we will not be deterred."

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