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Latino market broken into

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Jose Suarez saw Roman Rubio-Ceja in his small Prospector market often, buying soft drinks, bread and other groceries.

Suarez, the owner of La Michoacana, said the 22-year-old was a regular at the market, which caters to Park City’s burgeoning Latino community.

"He laughs. He talks," Suarez said about Rubio-Ceja.

The Park City Police Department, though, said Rubio-Ceja broke into the market, 1922 Prospector Ave., late on Nov. 8. Police officers found him inside, a rare capture of a burglary suspect at the scene.

Authorities are holding Rubio-Ceja, who is 22 years old and was captured on his birthday, in the Summit County Jail. Bail is set at $7,500, but immigration officials have ordered him held. The Police Department said he is from Mexico, but his immigration status was not immediately known. He lives in Park City.

The Police Department charged Rubio-Ceja with a third-degree felony count of burglary and an intoxication count, a misdemeanor. If he is convicted of burglary, he faces a sentence of up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. The police plan to add a criminal-mischief charge.

Prosecutors on Tuesday morning continued to consider formal charges, and they expected to file them as early as late Tuesday, an official with the Summit County Attorney’s Office said.

Suarez said he did not "think he’d do that" to the store.

Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, said dispatchers received a report from a security company at 10:35 p.m. indicating a silent alarm had been tripped at La Michoacana.

Two or three officers arrived within three to five minutes. The first officer saw the suspect inside the market and found a window had been broken. Another police officer descended on the store, Ryan said, and saw Rubio-Ceja leaving through the front door.

Ryan said the officer drew his gun, ordered Rubio-Ceja to the ground and handcuffed the suspect. Rubio-Ceja complied with the officer’s commands, the captain said.

Officers searched the store, but they did not find more suspects.

Ryan said Rubio-Ceja took two compact discs and put them in a sweater pocket. He also broke into the market’s cash register, but there were no bills inside, Ryan said, and Rubio-Ceja did not take coins from the register. He used a rock to break the window to get inside, according to Ryan.

"It looks like he went in looking for money. There wasn’t any cash he wanted," Ryan said.

The police said Rubio-Ceja caused about $2,200 in damage in the market, including to the window and the cash register.

The Police Department in 2006 received 73 burglary reports, and the numbers have fluctuated greatly in the past decade, with a high of 179 in 2002. In 2006, the department handled 73 burglary cases.

The police said it is unlikely Rubio-Ceja is responsible for a string of business break-ins in Park City and at Kimball Junction earlier in the fall. In those cases, in a span of about three weeks, four restaurants suffered break-ins, two at Kimball Junction and two in the city limits.

Those cases remain unsolved. The people in the earlier cases smashed into the stores in the overnight hours and went for the cash register or cash-register drawer.

Ryan said it is "pretty rare" for police officers to catch a burglary suspect at the scene. He said they hit a store or restaurant "so quick."

"Our response was quick enough that he really didn’t have a chance to get away," Ryan said. "It’s great. We love being able to catch them with the hand in the cookie jar."


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