A Chimayó grandmother is suspected of taking her grandson to the Family Dollar in Chimayó, then driving the getaway car after he robbed the store.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Deputy George Martinez was dispatched to the store at 11:52 a.m., Aug. 31, in regard to a robbery call. While on his way there, he was told by dispatch that the suspect, later identified as Sebastian Abeyta, left in a silver sedan. He was also given the license plate number.

When Martinez got to the store, he spoke with Lorraine Serna and Juan Mendoza, the employees at Family Dollar. Serna told him she saw a man come into the store, wearing a baseball cap and a COVID-type face mask. He was near the counter and caught her attention when he leaned over it and reached for the cash box, which was under the register. The key was allegedly in it, making it easy for the man to turn the key and access the money. 

“She asked him ‘What are you doing?’ and at that point stated ‘Don’t do it.’ He then walked out of the store with approximately $780 in a rush getting into the vehicle and left north on County Road 96 where the vehicle was last seen,” Martinez wrote in his incident report.

He ran the license plate in an attempt to find the physical address of the registered owner and it came back to Dora Abeyta on County Road 89. He went there to speak with her and remembered a man, Sebastian Abeyta, lived in that general area. Martinez wrote that he’s had many encounters with the man.

Martinez spoke with Dora Abeyta and told her he was investigating a robbery at Family Dollar. He asked if she knew anything about it or had anything to do with it. 

“She advised that she has picked up a young kid that was asking for a ride near the County Road 87 and 89,” he wrote. “She stated that he needed a ride to the Family Dollar. She stated to me that she was going to the post office which is in the same direction and decided to pick him up as he begged her for a ride.”

After he got in the car, they went to the Family Dollar and he told her he was going inside, but didn’t ask her to wait for him. A few moments later, he walked out, got in the car and told her to drive up the road, where according to Dora Abeyta, she dropped him off. She never went to the post office because she got “side-tracked,” Martinez wrote.

“Speaking to her, she was nervous as during the conversation she developed dry mouth,” Martinez wrote. “Her story of picking up a random person hitching a ride didn’t make much sense to why she would have invited a stranger into her vehicle, then waited for him after committing the crime and follow up by taking him up County Road 96 where he gets off and unknown where he goes from that point. She then goes home and never goes to the post office like she was initially planned to do.”

He asked Dora Abeyta several times if her grandson was with her at any point during the day, whether he stayed the night or whether she gave him a ride. She denied having contact with her grandson.

Martinez left and viewed the video surveillance from the store and saw the man inside the store. He appeared to have a tattoo on his upper left arm. The deputy searched for Sebastian Abeyta’s Facebook page, on which he found a photo of the man with a tattoo in the same location.

“It is clear he has a similar one which is hard to hundred percent identify on the surveillance system on the same arm and is approximately the same size,” he wrote.

On Sept. 11, Martinez went to the Family Dollar to do a photo line-up of the potential suspect, but Mendoza and Serna were unable to identify the man positively because he was wearing a baseball cap and mask when he entered the store.

Martinez filed a criminal complaint against Sebastian Abeyta and charged him with larceny (over $500).

According to an online court records search, Sebastian Abeyta was charged on Aug. 11, with receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicles (first offense), larceny (over $500 but not more than $2,500) and criminal damage to property.

On May 2, he was charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle (first offense) and residential burglary.

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