ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Police say a serial burglar, who has been arrested 37 times, was shot by a homeowner in northwest Albuquerque Sunday morning.
Authorities say the homeowner heard a loud bang and then his alarm go off. After arming himself with a gun the homeowner says he saw the burglar at the top of his stairs and shot at him twice, hitting him once.
Police say the burglar will survive his wounds.
That burglar has been identified as Richard Garcia, 43, a man with a very long history of home and vehicle burglaries.
Court records show he's been prosecuted for four burglaries in the last year, the most recent on January 15th, 2012.
Albuquerque Police Officers call Garcia a menace.
"They release him back out into society and he continues to prey upon victims." says Commander William Roseman
News 13 wanted to know why Garcia was not in jail and discovered he was ruled incompetent to stand trial this past December. With that ruling a judge ordered the dismissal of his three 2011 cases and ordered his release from jail.
A spokesperson for the District Attorney's office says their hands are tied. The only way they could argue for Garcia to remain locked up, even in a mental health facility, is if his crimes were of a violent nature and the crimes he's charged with do not fit the legal requirements.
"It is a really big challenge," says D.A. spokesperson Kayla Anderson. "I think it's frustrating for everybody."
Less than a month after being ruled incompetent Garcia allegedly committed another burglary, which the district attorney is still working to prosecute.
In the meantime APD's burglary unit remains frustrated.
"They may deem them incompetent but they sure know what they are doing when they re-victimize people." says Commander Roseman
Police say the homeowner who shot Garcia Sunday will not face charges.
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