Freed by police, man charged with stealing car

August 25, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - Alex Sanes walked out of the Charles Town Police Department Wednesday afternoon a free man after being mistaken for an accused murderer from the Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

Now Sanes, 21, is charged with stealing a car from Ranson just hours later.

Sanes was picked up in Jefferson County on Wednesday with Adam Rozas, 17. Rozas and accused murderer Miguel Quinones, 19, had escaped on July 29 from the Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center when Quinones overpowered a guard and stole her car keys, officials have said.

Rozas fled with Quinones after he asked other inmates if any of them knew how to drive a stick shift, officials have said.


Sanes and Rozas also are the primary suspects in the theft of a 1981 Toyota from New York City on Monday night, said Capt. Mick Ballenger of the Ranson Police Department. The car was recovered by Ranson police on Thursday morning near an abandoned cement factory, he said.

Police believe the car has been there since at least Wednesday. The ignition guard had been removed, Ballenger said. Fingerprints were taken from the car and sent to the state crime lab, he said.

No information was available Sunday on whether charges had been filed in the theft of the Toyota. But investigators said that they did not believe Sanes' earlier story that he and Rozas had arrived in Charles Town from New York City by bus, since the bus lines do not go through town, said Ranson police Lt. Rob Roberts.

Sanes and Rozas were walking on old U.S. 340 Wednesday afternoon when Jefferson County police officers, acting on a tip, surrounded them and took them into custody.

Police now suspect that Rozas, who was in the juvenile detention center after being convicted of two motor vehicle thefts in Jefferson County, had been in New York City until Monday night, police said.

Sanes, of New York City, matched the description of Quinones, even bearing a tattoo in the same location on his arm, police said. But a guard from the juvenile detention center said he was not Quinones.

Sanes left the Charles Town Police Department about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He shook hands with a deputy and asked for his property to be returned, police said.

When the deputy got the small beverage cooler from an evidence locker, Sanes left the lobby area, police said.

Sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 1983 Chevrolet Celebrity belonging to a Harpers Ferry, W.Va., woman was stolen from the AB&C parking lot in Ranson, according to a warrant charging Sanes with grand larceny.

The car was reported stolen to Ranson Police about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, and police put a description of the vehicle onto a national crime computer.

About 2:45 a.m. Thursday, Ranson Police received a call that the car had been recovered by Pennsylvania State Police in Carlisle, Pa., Ballenger said.

Sanes had stopped at a Texaco station and for an unknown reason appeared suspicious to the station attendants, police said.

Pennsylvania State Police troopers stopped him and Sanes told them he had stolen the car, according to the charging document.

Sanes is being held in Pennsylvania pending an extradition hearing.

Rozas remains in the Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center following a detention hearing Thursday before Judge Thomas Steptoe in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

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