Woman arrested after string of alleged car thefts

FAR WEST TEXAS — A woman’s alleged spree of car thefts through West Texas ended over the weekend after El Paso police took her into custody.

Alyssa Verdugo, 21, is facing charges in El Paso of a stolen vehicle, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. El Paso police officers took her into custody on Saturday, a spokesperson said.

In the days leading up to Verdugo’s arrest, authorities believe she was linked to at least three car thefts from El Paso, Marfa and Van Horn. She allegedly left the stolen cars abandoned across the region, with at least two of the cars still running when police recovered them.

The problems in Marfa started last Thursday, when a local man called 911 to report that his truck was stolen from his property.

He told police he’d last seen the truck the night before, when he parked it at his home on South Hoover Street, and had noticed it was missing Thursday afternoon. At the time, police noted there were “no possible suspects” but that “no other person was allowed to use the vehicle.” They filed the incident as a theft, according to a police report.

Then, on Friday evening, a woman on West Galveston Street called police — this time about a “suspicious vehicle parked in her neighborhood,” according to a second police report.

The woman told police she’d seen a woman park the car there on Thursday evening, leaving the keys in the ignition. Authorities ran the car’s license plates, and it came back stolen out of El Paso, the police report states.

In the trunk of the car, Marfa police found a suitcase with contact information, which they were able to use to contact the owner. She told police that her car had indeed been stolen — a detail later confirmed by El Paso police.

The stolen Marfa truck ended up in Van Horn — where the next day, it once again ended up on Marfa PD’s radar.

There, Culberson County sheriff’s deputies found the truck in a restaurant parking lot, according to a third police report. They ran the plates and learned it had been stolen out of Marfa.

Around the same time, a third car was also stolen from a Van Horn resident, according to Chief Marquez. Verdugo was arrested some time later that day.

Marfa police made contact with the Marfa car-theft victim, who was able to recover his truck on Monday. He told police the truck was fine except for “superficial damage and a dead battery,” according to a third police report.

Online court records in El Paso leave out key details on the incident, including when Verdugo was arrested and the full charges she’ll face. But as of Tuesday, those records do show that Verdugo had a court-appointed attorney and was awaiting a bond hearing.

Still, Chief Marquez said authorities believe the three car thefts are linked. He cited the “same M.O.” in all three of the thefts, in which cars were left with their engines running near where other cars were stolen.

“From what all we’ve gathered, we think she did steal the vehicle we found here [in Marfa],” Marquez said. Authorities’ current theory, he said, is that after Verdugo allegedly stole the first car in El Paso, she “came down to Marfa, left that vehicle running, went down a block, found keys in the truck of the other [Marfa] vehicle and left that one in Van Horn,” where she’s accused of stealing the third car.