Wisconsin State troopers say a man and woman from New Mexico who were driving the car they stole were apprehended in Caledonia during a traffic stop for speeding.
Joe Armijo, 44, and Charmayne Lopez, 26, were charged Friday in Racine County Circuit Court with one felony count each of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and receiving stolen property. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, troopers patrolling I-94 Thursday observed a Jeep SUV speeding in the northbound lanes near 7-Mile Road and initiated a traffic stop. The driver and passenger were identified as Armijo, and Lopez.
Troopers say the plates of the vehicle came back as stolen out of New Mexico, and the owner there told police he’d picked up a man and woman – Armijo and Lopez – to help the man get a driver’s license. While the trio was visiting the DMV, Lopez said she was going to the bathroom but never returned. When the man went outside to look for her, his car was gone.
During questioning, Lopez said she bought the Jeep from the man and paid him half the purchase price, the complaint reads. She also said the man told her not to register the vehicle until she paid him the remaining half of the money. Armijo, however, told troopers he would take full responsibility for the stolen Jeep.
Both Armijo and Lopez remain in the Racine County Jail on $500 cash bonds each. They will next be in court Oct. 5 for their preliminary hearings.