3 charged with burglary of Pike County sheriff’s Mexican store in Glenwood
Three suspects have been arrested on felony charges related to a November break-in at a Glenwood business located in a building owned by Pike County Sheriff Charlie Caldwell.
Charged on Jan. 2 were Cristian E. Sauceda, 24, Bonnie L. Smoot, 22, and Erlin J. Rodriguez, 16; all charged with commercial burglary, first-degree criminal mischief and theft of property. The three suspects all have Beebe, Ark. addresses but were apparently living in Hot Springs.
On Nov. 17, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department received a call from Chuck Voan who reported that the La Ouaxaquena Mexican store next to his business appeared to have been broken into. Court records note that Sheriff Caldwell owns the building. There was a large hole in the back of the building where it appeared entrance had been made and also a large hole that had been cut in the back wall of the business’ office. Approximately $1,400 cash and $300 in phone cards had been taken from the office.
Video footage from the onsite surveillance cameras showed two individuals – dressed in hooded-type shirts, face masks, gloves and baggy pants – inside the store and behind the cash register at the front of the business where a .380-caliber handgun was also taken.
On Dec. 14, the sheriff’s department received a call from Lake Village law officials who said three individuals had been arrested in possession of the stolen gun as well as a large amount of cash and phone cards. When later interviewed by Pike County Deputy Clark Kinzler, Smoot admitted to having been in Glenwood with Sauceda and Rodriguez but initially denied any involvement in or knowledge of the Glenwood burglary. She did confirm knowledge of the calling cards and the presence of the firearm but denied knowledge that they were stolen. Smoot also implicated a third male in the crime, known to her has “Flocko.”
Smoot later gave Deputy Kinzler permission to search her vehicle which had been impounded after her arrest. During the search, three cell phones and an international calling card were found in the front area and a brown cloth glove similar to the ones wore by the suspects in the surveillance video was found partially concealed by a floor mat in the back. When Kinzler removed the floor mat to photograph and collect the glove, he noticed the back seat was loosely placed in the car. A further search revealed a black ski mask, a black “beanie type watch cap” and a second glove concealed in female clothing on the floor board.
The search continued in the vehicle’s trunk where Deputy Kinzler found a gym bag that contained four more international cards and five loose .380-caliber rounds of ammunition along with five additional cell phones. Deeper in the vehicle’s trunk in two plastic bags, 752 international calling cards, valued at $2,474, were recovered as well as a Regions Bank bag and a page of return address labels from the Glenwood business.
Deputy Kinzler later interviewed Smoot and she continued to deny having any knowledge of the crime but later confessed to being in the vehicle and involved in the the burglary. She also claimed to have knowledge of two other burglaries in Garland County.
Smoot further stated that the three males involved liked burglarizing Mexican-owned businesses because “they don’t like Mexicans.”
When Deputy Kinzler was attempting to mirandize Rodriguez he had to use an interpreter. The deputy noted that when he attempted to question Sauceda, “who spoke better English,” the suspect denied knowledge or involvement in the burglaries but appeared to be having trouble understanding his questions, “so I terminated the interview, for lack of interpreter.”