Monday, December 27, 2010

The Hobbs Grinch

Holiday Grinch Turns Himself In
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. - Hobbs Police got an early Christmas present on Thursday afternoon.

A man they said stole cans from a little girl and then cashed them in for money turned himself in but he said he's innocent and wants people to hear his side of the story.

"I came to turn myself in man, I'm getting charged with a crime I didn't do," Roque Castillo said.

He's known as 'the Grinch' who stole Christmas, but 28-year-old Roque Castillo says he's innocent and the only reason he turned himself in Friday is to begin the process of clearing his name.

"Guess my name's Grinch, guess it fell at the right time at Christmas," he said. "But I ain't guilty. I'm not going to plead guilty to a crime I didn't do."

Hobbs Police said Castillo stole cans from a little girl who was saving them to earn money for Christmas presents.

Then they said he brought the cans to a local metal shop for the money, but Castillo said he was just doing a favor.

He said a friend brought him the cans and asked Castillo to cash them in for him because he didn't have an ID.

"I was at the house with my kids that day, getting ready for Christmas," Castillo said. "I just did it for a friend, I was trying to help him out because it's Christmas time."

Castillo is no stranger to the law but he said those days are behind him.

"You think I'd take something stolen over there with my ID?" he said. "C'mon on man, let's be real, I am a criminal. I live right now, you know I got kids. I don't do nothing wrong anymore."

Friends and family of Castillo held signs in support of their 'Grinch' as he made his way to the police department. Castillo's mother, Janie, said it's all a big misunderstanding and his tattoo just happened to make good timing for all the headlines.

"They're playing off the whole grinch thing because it fell around Christmas. You know the Grinch who stole Christmas," Janie said. "My son didn't steal Christmas. He's got two little girls and he wouldn't do that."

The family said they've got an attorney and their next step is legal action for what they call slander in the newspaper.

And as for Castillo, he said he hasn't heard from the friend since.

"Ever since then, I ain't seen him," he said.

Castillo did bail out of jail on a $529 bond.

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