BELEN—A man who worked at a Belen motel has been arrested and charged after allegedly robbing a neighboring business.
Belen Police Chief James Harris said a man walked into the HonduMex Restaurant at 418 Main St. at about 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, wearing a mask.
“A masked individual went into the restaurant, which at this point in time isn’t unusual, but he brandished a firearm to the owner and told him to give him his wallet and empty the register,” Harris said. “He got away with about $1,000 in cash.”
Harris said the man was left the restaurant, walked east of the restaurant and went behind Dollar General, where he changed his clothes. The then entered the Super 8 motel through the front door and went up to the second floor.
The police chief said the man was identified as Anthony Bibiano, 31, of Belen, who had been working as the night clerk at Super 8. Bibiano was also a resident of the motel and living in a room there.
“Ultimately, we were able to positively identify him as the suspect through video tape,” Harris said. “The manager of the motel knew who he was.”
Bibiano left the motel before police arrived Sunday night, but when they knocked on the door, a woman told officers Bibiano was there but he had already left. The Belen Police Department was able to serve a search warrant on the room he was staying in. Harris said they found some narcotics and drug equipment.
On Wednesday night, Aug. 26, three days after the incident, BPD Sgt. Jason Skopek was driving on Vivian Road at about 9:30 p.m. when he saw a man fitting Bibiano’s description walking down the road by a trailer park.
“(The officer) spoke to the individual and called him by name,” the police chief said. “The individual ran into a trailer and barricaded himself inside.”
Harris said there were three people — Bibiano’s girlfriend and two acquaintances — inside the house who were able to leave at the beginning of the incident. Bibiano, the chief said, refused to come outside.
“Ultimately, we had New Mexico State Police and the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office there to assist us with the barricaded individual,” Harris said. “It was a several hour standoff. Ultimately, he surrendered.”
Bibiano was arrested and taken into custody, and is charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other drug-related counts. Bibiano is currently in the custody, but is being treated at an Albuquerque hospital for drug-related issues.
Harris said the Super 8 motel has been an problem for the last couple of years, including a large amount of traffic going in and out of the location, which he believes to be involved in narcotics.
“There may be some prostitution going on in that building,” Harris said. “There is an overall sense of criminal activity in that building. We had a fatal overdose of a young lady there a couple of weeks ago.”
Harris said the motel has been an ongoing issue, and has been the subject of complaints not only from motel guests but from neighbors around the area.
The police chief said he has spoken to the manager of the motel, who has promised he would be willing to do whatever it took to clean the place up.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to clean it up, but I have no intention of allowing that kind of atmosphere in this community,” Harris said.
The owner of HonduMex Restaurant wasn’t hurt, but police were not able to recover his stolen cash.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.