South Dakota man to appear for burglary and car theft

He told police he was fleeing the cartel.

police lights for arrest stuff

WILDER — A Sioux Falls, South Dakota resident is scheduled for a court hearing next week in relation to a January incident in which he's accused of breaking into a home and stealing a vehicle.

A Wilder duo told police Jan. 29 that they had left the house for three hours and returned to find the patio door had been opened. They found footprints throughout the home and a vehicle missing from the garage. A black sock and a men's black tennis shoe were found outside the home that did not belong to the residents.

The shoe and sock were located near a set of footprints in the snow that led to Minnesota 60 by way of another Wilder residence. At that home, a doorknob had been broken off the basement walkout door, but it did not appear that anyone had gained entrance to the home.

The stolen vehicle was located later that day in Sioux City, Iowa. The driver was identified as Jose Cruz Mendoza, 36, and he had one bare foot. He told employees at a gas station there to call the police because he was being "chased by the cartels."

In a interview with police, Cruz Mendoza told officers that he had entered the Wilder home and stolen the vehicle because he had "escaped" somewhere between Minneapolis and Sioux Falls.


Cruz Mendoza was charged with third-degree burglary and motor vehicle theft, both felonies, each of which carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. If convicted, he will be sentenced based on criminal history. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Because Cruz Mendoza was summoned to court rather than arrested, a mugshot of him is not available.

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