Northern NM economy profits from LANL from Los Alamos Monitor
Joshua Montoya worked as a pipefitter when the thefts occurred. Montoya was arrested in July 2016, after the owner of an Española scrap metal yard gave investigators Montoya’s driver’s licence information and sales records of the transaction that also had Montoya’s personal information.
In court Wednesday, Montoya pleaded no contest to larceny. In exchange for his plea, Montoya was sentenced to three years probation. If he completes the three years without breaking any other laws, the felony conviction will be wiped from his record.
Montoya’s attorney, Tyr Loranger, said he was able to get a more lenient sentence for his client because there were others involved.
“There were some sympathetic factors in Joshua’s case,” Loranger said. “One of those factors was that the main culprit in that case was someone else. There was someone else who was responsible for what was going on. Josh was just an accessory. That was the fulcrum I used to convince the district attorney that this outcome was in the best interest of justice.”
Shortly after his July 9, 2016, arrest, Montoya also checked himself into an inpatient addiction treatment program, which also helped his case, Loranger said.
Police believe Montoya started taking the copper between May 31 and July 9 of last year.
Los Alamos National Laboratory officials initially reported a theft of copper fittings that occurred between July 9 and July 13. Investigators traced the stolen copper to Gallegos Scrap Metal LLC, where the shop’s owner, Tim Gallegos was able to show investigators receipts from sales Montoya made to his shop.
After a more thorough examination of the records, investigators from LANL and the Los Alamos Police Department determined that Montoya had been selling copper materials from LANL several times a week since May 31.
“(Gallegos) said that since this date, Mr. Montoya has sold 2,709 pounds of copper and brass to Gallegos Scrap Metal and was paid $3,474.95,” said Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. Jack Casias in his report. “Examination of one of the boxes showed a label which had ‘Los Alamos National Laboratory’ on it as well as ‘LANL SM-30 TA 60’ which is another technical area of the laboratory.”
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