ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A man was arrested Friday morning after police say he attempted to steal a vehicle, then ran into the victim’s home, barricaded himself and started a fire.
Black ash is all that’s left of Antonio Loya’s bedroom after that early morning car burglary went haywire.
“I didn’t think nothing. I wasn’t expecting it until I opened the door and I freaked out,” said Loya.
It all started around 6 a.m. Friday. Loya was getting ready for work and had just stepped outside to heat up his truck. When he did that, he found who police say is Julio Lopez already inside his vehicle.
“When I opened the door I got shocked,” he said. “I started backing up to call the cops and that’s when he got out of the truck.”
Lopez didn’t go far. Police say he ran into Loya’s house and locked himself inside beginning a two-hour stand off with authorities. Loya was left outside.
The SWAT team attempted to lure Lopez out of the home multiple times, but he refused. Then, smoke started rolling out from the roof.
“When I saw the smoke I knew that the trailer was burning inside,” said Loya.
Police say Lopez, whose been arrested more than 10 times, first attempted to flood Loya’s house then he lit it on fire.
The flames destroyed the victim’s kitchen and bedroom. KRQE News 13 was there when Loya saw the damage for the first time.
He says he’s sad and shocked someone would ruin the place he’s called home for nearly a decade.
Loya says his house is a total loss. Police and the Red Cross are working on finding him a place to stay for the next few days while he gets back on his feet.
Police say Lopez didn’t have any weapons. They say it’s possible he has mental health issues. Lopez has been arrested for child abuse, aggravated battery and drugs in the past.
*KRQE Staff translated Loya’s interview.