ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — The owners of a popular indoor flea market and antique shop are crying out for help. Their windows keep getting broken again and again, and thieves keep breaking in. They said they may have to shut down now.
The indoor flea market ‘Past, Present, and In-Between’ has been a staple in the community for the past 10 years. They’ve consistently been voted number one for antiques in Albuquerque, but after a decade of escalating crime, the owners are at their breaking point.
“It’s like you have severe PTSD from this stuff. People pulling knives on you. This is not what you expect when you run a business. You shouldn’t have to also be a police officer in your business,” said Jacqueline Pattin, owner and operator of Past, Present, and In-Between.
Plywood covering the windows of the shop is evidence of the years-long problems Pattin said have plagued her store at Lomas and San Mateo. This store houses more than 100 vendors, but now, Pattin is faced with packing up shop.
“We have to deal with the homeless regularly. Homeless breaking our windows, vandalizing. It’s cost so much money that, I don’t know how much more of this we could take,” Pattin explained.
Just this year, they’ve had to replace windows and fix other damage from vandals three times. The latest was just this past Monday.
“This is a small local business that like, we’re not rich. We’re barely struggling to pay for the windows to get fixed, and it’s just taken right out of our pocket. That’s every last bit that we worked for, this many windows. It’s outrageous,” Pattin said.
She said, over the past decade, they’ve paid more than $25,000 dollars to keep fixing the windows. Not to mention, dealing with burglars: Pattin said less than six months ago, a man broke in and stole $7,000 dollars worth of Native American Jewelry.
“We caught him right here as we were walking through the front door at 3:00 in the morning. We made it before the police did, and we live in Bernalillo,” Pattin said, “five, seven years ago it wasn’t this bad. There wasn’t as many homeless people walking in front of our door, coming in, smoking. I’ve had them come in and spill tea all over the front area on rugs, furniture, and everything. We’ve had normal customers even come in and push our $7,000 register over on this one just because she didn’t get her way.”
With things going the way they are, she’s pleading for change: “The city needs to do something. There needs to be more police. I don’t care how that happens. It needs to happen. What are we paying for,” Pattin asks. “If this keeps going the way it is, who would want to stay in business?”
The owner said the problems have become so bad, they often have to close and even lock their doors during business hours to discourage trouble-makers from coming into the shop. Pattin said most of her vendors are over the age of 50 and rely on her store as a major source of income.