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Carl Gage

Carl Gage, 48, was found guilty of three of nearly 30 charges against him last week. A jury for just one of his four pending trials found him guilty of three of the four charges against him: possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, a second degree felony; tampering with evidence, a third degree felony; and criminal damage to property (under $1,000), a petty misdemeanor. He was acquitted on the charge of attempting to escape from jail.

Several other cases against Gage were vacated by Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Emilio Chavez, and will be heard at yet-to-be-determined dates.

Gage was arrested after nearly a dozen businesses and homes in Taos County reported break-ins and burglaries throughout 2018. Law enforcement were able to tie six separate commercial burglaries in Taos County to Gage, and he was charged with breaking into Popolo’s Games, KOKO’s Coffee and Deli (twice), Southwest Wellness, the northside Lotaburger, Bailey’s Chimney, and Bull O’ The Woods Saloon.

With a rap sheet for burglary in Alaska and California, Gage became a suspect after anonymous tips, and eventually, a pry bar left at a burglary scene came back with his DNA on it.

Last week’s trial saw Gage facing charges for his alleged attempt to escape from the Taos County Adult Detention Center. Tools thought to be used to dig himself out were found in his cell and several small holes were located in one of the walls. Law enforcement believed he was aiming to tunnel his way out, however, jurors acquitted him of that charge.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Gage was “a career criminal that wreaked havoc around the Enchanted Circle even after serving time in prison in California and Alaska.” He added there was “no doubt he is responsible for many other burglaries and crimes that we just can’t prove.” Hogrefe said he hopes Gage will receive “the maximum” sentence for his most recent crimes.

So far, a date has been set for just one of the three other trials. Gage will again go before Judge Chavez on Aug. 9 to face charges related to a burglary at Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire, where he has been charged with possession of burglary tools, non-residential burglary, larceny (over $500 but less than $2,500), and tampering with evidence – all fourth degree felonies.

The District Attorney’s office said they will be seeking the maximum sentence of 18.5 years for the possession of a shank, tampering with evidence and criminal damage, plus additional habitual offender time.

Gage has been offered a plea deal by the DA’s office, and is also facing extradition to Alaska for previous crimes. Whether his time will be spent in New Mexico or Alaska, it seems Gage will be behind bars for a long time.

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