ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque business owner is fed up after thieves continue to target him, racking up thousands of dollars in damages. He says it seems no matter what they do, the criminals keep coming back.
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In the past couple of months, thieves have taken off with everything from catalytic converters and aluminum, to an entire RV. Business owner Dan Mowery says it feels like the police aren’t doing enough to catch the crooks.
Mowery’s interest in cars started when he fixed them up during his college years. Decades later, he’s kept it going. “They were just cars I had collected, buying and selling and the RVs were to buy and sell and fix,” said Mowery. “I buy things that don’t work a lot of times, and make them work and refurbish them.”
Mowery is a co-owner of Rader Awning and Upholstery near Paseo del Norte and Jefferson. Behind the business, he has a fenced-in storage yard filled with his fixer-uppers along with storage for the awning business. It ended up being the perfect target for thieves.
“We identified that thieves had been in a storage yard for approximately a week, dismantling parts off cars,” said Mowery. “Including catalytic converters off 14 or 15 cars, batteries out of maybe 20 cars, and radiators out of a dozen or more cars.”
The crooks also broke into the semis they used for storage, along with four RVs, stripping them for their catalytic converters and copper. They also took aluminum frames needed for the company. They also left behind hypodermic needles in the yard and a jump box that likely would’ve been used to steal one of the cars.
One of Mowery’s employees saw them taking off through a hole in the fence and got their license plate number but it wasn’t enough to keep them from returning.
“One of the worst things was they took a set of 30 keys off a keyboard we identified that was in the yard to all the vehicles. To replace the vehicle keys nowadays with computer keys, is quite expensive,” said Mowery. “They came back a week later and stole an RV and a car trailer.”
Overall, Mowery says the thieves have caused at least $20,000 to $30,000 in damages. Because the cars were bought to fix and flip, much of it wasn’t insured, meaning thousands of dollars down the drain.
“You work hard as an individual all your life and you collect some things and these people can just take it away,” said Mowery. “There seems to be no justification of trying to catch them.”
Mowery did file a few reports with the Albuquerque Police Department and made multiple follow-up calls with no response. He says while he understands the department is overwhelmed with short staff, it’s still frustrating.
“We’re getting into the wild west pretty soon here in Albuquerque where we’re just going to have to defend ourselves,” said Mowery. “It’s unfortunate.”
Mowery says he’s since put up security cameras but they haven’t caught anything yet. Mowery also said a second car trailer was recently taken. KRQE News 13 reached out to APD to see if there are any updates on the cases but haven’t heard back.