ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Video shows police stopping a shoplifter a few weeks ago at the Target off Paseo. Albuquerque police said these arrests are happening more and more thanks to a partnership with the Attorney General’s (AG) office.
A partnership started in 2021 to tackle serial shoplifting, netting suspects like Lovelea Degeer, who is suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of potted plants from Albertsons.
“It took off and was moving at an impressive pace. I would say at the end of ’21 and beginning of 2022,” Commander Aaron Jones with the Albuquerque Police Department said.
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From Black Friday till Christmas Eve, at least 93 arrests were made for shoplifting-related offenses throughout the city. “That’s definitely not what the entire department made, we’re just talking about the ones the organized crime unit was a part of, so the department itself made more arrests than 93, it’s well over the 100 mark,” Jones said.
He believes the arrests made this holiday season is more than last year, saying it’s a substantial amount of arrests throughout the city. Jones said these results are proof that the partnerships are working.
“The AG’s partnership that we have is really just case and point on what you can accomplish when you’re working together with other people who have a common focus and a common mission,” Jones said.
Stricter penalties for repeat shoplifters have been talked about, specifically in the late legislative session. One bill introduced would have combined the dollar amounts of every stolen item in a calendar year, upping a serial shoplifters’ charge to a felony. The bill was shot down, but APD hopes to see the idea come back.
“Along with legislation, creating more partnerships, and then sustaining the partnerships that we have is definitely key in us being able to take bites out of this,” Jones said.
Although APD said they’re making progress, there’s still a long way to go. The department stated it will continue to make retail crime a priority.
Bernalillo County’s newly appointed District Attorney Sam Bregman said, in a news conference Wednesday, he will have a strong focus on retail crime in his new position. APD stated they’re looking forward to what they can accomplish together.