ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – What’s supposed to be a final resting place is being disturbed, as a cemetery in southwest Albuquerque is being used more like an open space by a group of ATV riders.
A video provided by a neighbor shows people taking a joy ride at the Santa Clara cemetery, sparking anger from that neighbor and the cemetery’s owner. They say it isn’t the first time the group has done it.
“Angry because it’s a cemetery. It’s not a playground, it’s not an empty field, it’s a cemetery,” said a neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
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That neighbor was in shock after seeing someone riding his ATV where hundreds of people are laid to rest at Santa Clara cemetery near Central and Old Coors. “No respect to me that’s pretty low,” said the neighbor.
She said the person seen in the video is there daily. But he’s not the only one who does it. A picture showed a group of three people riding ATVs as well.
Peter Sanchez, CEO of the company that owns the cemetery said maintenance crews noticed the tracks on the burial ground about a month ago and have now contacted Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
“Some bad situations where trespassing is taking place and vandalism I guess as well, ” said Sanchez. “We have put up structures to block their access and they take it down,” he said.
Tuesday, they added two wooden posts as well as fencing, and a lock on the gate to keep those riders out of the cemetery but Sanchez said the new measures create other problems.
“What we have done to now, is really secured it so much that it’s going to even be difficult for even the people who want to go visit their loved one to get access,” said Sanchez.
Neighbors and the cemetery owner hope the changes will restore peace. “The disrespect that people are having here for trespassing in a sacred ground like a cemetery, there’s so much open space to go and run ATVs on in the west side of Albuquerque. Pick a better spot,” said Sanchez.
The cemetery said they have more security patrolling the area. The cemetery owner said they are looking at other long-term measures, like a gate code that would allow legitimate visitors to get in and out more easily.