ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque neighborhood has had enough. After a string of burglaries, neighbors pooled their money to hire their own cops; and boy did it pay off.
Homes in the Huning Castle neighborhood had been hit one after another by burglars over the summer. But, thanks to a proactive effort and one quick cop, two suspected burglars were stopped just in the nick of time.
"I see officers right in front of my house so of course I freak out and ask and they basically said someone was trying to break into my house," Alison Pauk said.
She was still in shock from the Wednesday afternoon scare. Cops say the men who were going to break into her home in the middle of the day were just as shocked when Officer Simon Drobik stopped them in their tracks.
"Given their history and their arrest background they were absolutely about to break into a house," said Drobik.
He says it all started when he saw a car make an illegal turn. He flipped around and followed the car, "I actually pulled up behind them and the guy was actually getting out of the car going towards the front door holding the screw driver going to go burglarize the house."
The two men claimed they only stopped in front of the house because their car broke down.
"As I walked up to the car the car was running," said Drobik.
Both suspects had extensive criminal records.
Because Drobik stopped them before anything happened he couldn't charge them but, It's a win in our book because we stopped a felony crime from happening; and actually the homeowner came home minutes after we have stopped that action. And who knows if we weren't there if she would have walked in the house and this guy was holding a screw driver."
Something Pauk thought about too, "Who knows what could have happened."
She's grateful to the neighbors who chipped in to pay for the Albuquerque Police officers to work overtime in the neighborhood.
"Many people in the neighborhood donated anywhere from 10 to 100 dollars," Rudy Garcia with Huning Castle Neighborhood Association said.
He says this isn't the first time the officers-for-hire have made a difference.
"Officer Drobik had stopped some suspicious activity recently and Officer Garza had stopped a suspicious vehicle that was impounded," said Garcia.
If your neighborhood has crime problems, but can't afford to hire officers on overtime, cops say you can go to your local substation. Explain the issues and the department will work to patrol your area more.
Officer Drobik was APD's officer of the year last year. He says it is rare for a neighborhood to hire officers to deal with a crime problem.
A handful of neighborhoods do hire extra cops, mainly during the holidays, to deal with traffic.
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