Apr. 23—Santa Fe police say they have tied a suspected serial burglar to at least 18 downtown burglaries involving an estimated $350,000 worth of stolen goods.
Officers most recently arrested Edgar Guzman, 25, April 10 after he was detained by a security guard who accused of him of attempting to break into the Double Take consignment shop on Guadalupe Street.
The Santa Fe Police Department later announced Guzman had been charged in six other break-ins, a problem that has plagued downtown businesses in recent months.
The department on Friday issued a news release saying Guzman — who had been arrested and released at least two times on burglary charges since mid-December — is now a suspect in 10 other recent incidents and a total of 18 dating back to Dec. 20.
A map of burglary sites provided by the police department indicates Guzman is accused of stealing goods worth as little as $30 from Magic Socks on Palace Avenue and as much $238,000 from Momeni's Gallery on Old Santa Fe Trail near Alameda Street.
He also is suspected of causing $2,300 in property damage at several businesses, including Whole Hog Café on Guadalupe Street and the Kokopelli Gallery on Palace Avenue.
The map shows most of the incidents occurred on or around Guadalupe Street and Palace Avenue.
Santa Fe police Capt. Aaron Ortiz said there "is a possibility that [Guzman] is connected to more burglaries."
The department is reviewing cases and "more evidence as we come across it," he said.
Many downtown business owners have been complaining about break-ins, attempted break-ins and vandalism at their stores since at least December.
Based on a criminal complaint filed by investigators earlier this month, Guzman admitted to committing two breaks-ins at Manitou Galleries — one in February and one in March.
When they asked him why, the complaint said, he replied, "Because it is easy."
At the time, Guzman told police he was homeless and lived under a bridge downtown. He said he often would sell items he had stolen to tourists for $20 to $100.
Police first arrested Guzman on Dec. 20 after he was found outside Momeni's Gallery carrying a camouflage backpack filled with about $236,000 worth of stolen jewelry and a 13.5-inch-long "bayonet-style" knife, according to court records.
He was released Jan. 7 on an unsecured $2,500 bond, jail records show, but he never showed up in court.
He was arrested again Feb. 24 on suspicion of breaking into Santarepa Cafe on Johnson Street and stealing a safe but was released March 3.
While Guzman was in custody, police were able to gather GPS data implicating him in two other break-ins, one at the Italian fine dining restaurant Sassella on Jan. 11 and another at the Peruvian Connection clothing store Feb. 14.
Police have amended the original charges against Guzman, who now faces 13 counts of nonresidential burglary, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of conspiracy to commit larceny and nine counts of larceny.
Ortiz said Guzman, who was still in jail Friday, has requested a lawyer, and police won't interview him again unless he "comes in with his lawyer" to talk.