FARMINGTON — Police on Monday were searching for a man who, they said, pulled a knife on two Walmart employees after he was caught stealing

A warrant for Ryan Martinez's arrest was filed Monday in Farmington Magistrate Court. Martinez, a 23-year-old Farmington man, is wanted for investigation of two counts of aggravated assault and shoplifting related to the Friday incident, Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy said.

Friday evening, Martinez, in a black hooded sweatshirt, tried to push a cart filled with Metallica CDs and other merchandise out of the Walmart on East Main Street without paying, police said. He was confronted by two "loss-prevention" employees.

Tracy said Martinez pulled a knife, slashed at the employees and ran away.

He was last seen near the McDonald's by English Avenue and police said he may have gotten into another vehicle which drove off, Tracy said.

Tracy said Martinez tried to steal about $360 worth of merchandise. He had 10 DVDs, two Metallica CDs, a tablecloth, a ribbon, a package of candles and a wicker basket in the cart, according to the court documents.

Emilio Vasquez, who works at Walmart, stopped Martinez at about 4:15 p.m. as he was leaving the store.

Martinez "produced a knife and swung the blade at Mr. Vasquez," Jeffrey Chapman, a Farmington police officer, wrote in his report of the incident. "Mr. Vasquez jumped backward, narrowly avoiding contact with the blade.



Another employee, Steve Marmolejo, also was threatened with a knife when he confronted Martinez, according to court documents.

Tracy said Farmington police couldn't find Martinez at the scene of the crime or at his residence over the weekend. Police have had conversations with Martinez on his cell phone.

"Martinez admitted he was (at Walmart) and tried to take items but he denied pulling a knife," Tracy said. "He ended the conversation by hanging up on the officer."

Martinez has no felony convictions in New Mexico. He was convicted in Farmington Magistrate Court in 2008 of criminal damage to property and in 2009 he was convicted in district court of misdemeanor resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

If Martinez is arrested he will be held on a $20,000 cash-only bond because he is considered a danger to the public with prior offenses, according to court documents.