For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2022
Contact: Jerri Mares – (505) 321-4372
ALBUQUERQUE — Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announces indictments for organized retail crime (ORC) defendants Michael Arnold and Jayden Wheeler. Beginning in December 2021, Arnold and Wheeler brazenly shoplifted nearly $10,000 in hardware, including chainsaws and drill sets, from an Albuquerque westside Home Depot in four separate incidents. On January 7, 2022, Arnold displayed a can of mace to deter Home Depot personnel from interfering with their theft. Arnold was indicted on 10 counts and Wheeler faces 11 counts including Robbery, Shoplifting, and Conspiracy.
“Organized retail criminals that threaten hardworking New Mexicans with violence to complete their repeated thefts will continue to be targeted, and I am pleased with Judge Leos’ decision,” said Attorney General Balderas.
Michael Arnold has had twenty-three bench warrants issued for his arrest in the last five years and is currently in custody. Just hours after the indictments were returned, Arnold went to a hearing on the State’s motion for pretrial detention where Judge Leos determined that Arnold is a danger to the community and no conditions of release will reasonably protect the community. Judge Leos granted the State’s motion based on the facts of this case and Arnold’s extensive criminal history, noting Arnold’s disregard for the law.
The cases were investigated as part of the emerging ORC Task Force. The investigation involved the NM Office of the Attorney General, Albuquerque Police Department, and asset protection personnel from the retail community. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Ashley Schweizer and Jonathan Gardner. Although Arnold and Wheeler have been charged, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.
A copy of the indictments are attached.