The smash-and-grab bandit behind nearly 20 vehicle break-ins locally and crimes across the commonwealth is facing justice here in Mercer County.
Dario Mauriz-Cruz, 25, of Lexington, pled not guilty in district court on Monday.
Mauriz-Cruz was arrested in Bourbon County by the Kentucky State Police after being spotted in Lexington driving a car with stolen license plates.
Dario Mauriz-Cruz, alias Dario Adrian Mauriz-Cruz, alias Dario Mauriz has been a busy man. In addition to being charged with fleeing the police and the car break-ins here in Mercer, he is a suspect in a string of similar robberies in more than 20 counties in Kentucky and three states.
However, Mercer County filed warrants against Mauriz Cruz first, said Capt. Scott Elder of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department. Elder is the lead investigator in the break-ins.
Early in October, Mauriz-Cruz struck at the Fountain View subdivision and near the railroad tracks on Bohon Road and at the Lee Oaks subdivision off Warwick Road.
Two vehicles were also stolen, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup later found abandoned on Bohon Road and a Silver Kia Sportage SUV. Both vehicles have been recovered, Elder said.
The chief deputy believes Mauriz Cruz used a device to shatter windows, then he would steal anything he found of value, including weapons, money, electronics and credit cards.
The credit cards would be used to purchase gift cards and electronics like iPads, Elder said.
Mauriz-Cruz was possibly using a real estate app like Zillow to find housing developments, Elder said.
In Mercer County, Mauriz-Cruz is charged with two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of theft of a firearm, 18 counts of criminal mischief for the car break-ins, 10 counts of theft by unlawful taking over $500, three counts of identity theft and three counts of unla
wful access to a computer.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.