By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Four teens accused of shooting out dozens of car windows in four communities during the holidays are facing felony indictment in Texas and more than 50 criminal counts in Clovis.
Kathryn Gurley, Parmer County Texas district attorney, said she is combining damage estimates from incidents in Bovina and Farwell, elevating the charges to felony levels.
She expects to present the case to a grand jury in February.
“I’m waiting for just a little bit more information as far as damage amounts before I know (exactly how much),” she said, explaining felony range is between $1,500 and $20,000 damage.
Farwell police Chief Larry Kelsay said he and officer Frank Ramirez arrested the group on Christmas day in Farwell during a routine traffic stop.
Clovis police had issued an alert for their vehicle after a witness gave officers a description.
The group is accused of shooting out windows of cars and trucks by using BB guns.
Farwell is about 9 miles east of Clovis.
The group — two 18-year-old males, one 18-year-old female and a 17-year-old male, all from Bovina — have not yet been charged pending completion of the investigation.
Gurley said the 17-year-old can be charged as an adult.
Kelsay estimated about 20 cases pending in his community total $10,000 but damage estimates are still being tallied.
Vehicle, commercial and residential windows were targeted, he said.
Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said Clovis investigators have presented 50 misdemeanor criminal damage charges to the district attorney’s office for review.
Whitney said the cases in Clovis include a fifth suspect who is an adult.
Each of the adults facing additional counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a fourth-degree felony, Whitney said.
A fourth-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment in New Mexico.
In Clovis the damage was almost exclusively caused to vehicle windows, which Whitney said typically cost several hundred dollars each to replace.
Law enforcement has declined identifying suspects until charges are filed.