ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new business owner in Albuquerque may throw in the towel before her business even gets going, and she blames thieves.
“Angry is not even the word to describe, to emphasize just how upset I am,” Leticia Leyba said as she watched a surveillance video of her new business getting broken into. “I tried to bring a new concept to Albuquerque, and this is what I’m dealing with.”
She opened the Groove Boutique in Uptown three weeks ago. Since then, it’s been one disaster after another. Three break-ins in just three weeks with the latest one happening Monday night. “It’s hard for us small business owners to even stay in business at this point because it’s just happening so often,” Leyba said.
The break-ins started just days before their grand opening. Someone shattered the glass, but thankfully, got away with nothing.
“It was disheartening because we weren’t even open yet, and we were already experiencing this,” she said.
Then, thieves struck again last week. In surveillance footage, a man can be seen throwing rocks through the front door. Shortly after, he doesn’t leave empty-handed. However, it’s what happens after the break-in that was even worse.
“Within 30 minutes, I guess word gets out around the homeless population in the area and throughout that night we get looted five separate times by five separate homeless people,” Leyba said. The thieves, she believes were homeless, getting away with $5,300 in merchandise.
She said it’s a huge hit to her business that she’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of her own money on those things.
“I feel like, as small business owners, we’re just sitting ducks, and no one is hearing us.”
Now, she’s not sure what the future holds. “If Groove is even going to be here next week, I can’t tell you that.”
Leyba said after a meeting with Albuquerque Police Department, cameras tied to the real-time Crime Center will be installed near the area. She said she and other Uptown businesses will be going to City Council to voice their concerns.
If you recognize anyone in the video, you’re encouraged to call the police.