Thieves are stooping to a new low in Albuquerque, stealing landscaping from city medians—and the city says it’s a costly problem.
“I think it’s kind of indicative of our society,” said Sarah Hartshorn.
People in Albuquerque are used to hearing stories about thieves stealing cars and copper wire, but landscaping?
“I mean, it’s kind of crazy… it’s pretty annoying,” said another man.
Early Wednesday morning, a woman took to Facebook saying she spotted two women loading up an SUV Tuesday night with large rocks from a median along Eubank.
“I don’t know what they’re using it for, but they’re probably getting better use out of it than the medians are,” said an Albuquerque resident.
The city says it’s seen a lot of things go missing from the medians.
“In the past, we’ve had electrical wiring stolen, copper piping, and occasionally we do have the rocks or gravel put on the medians stolen,” said Matthew Whelan, Director of Solid Waste.
Whelan said as the summer months are approaching, their crews are doing quite a bit of work in the medians and do notice when things are out of place.
“However, there are times when people do inform us that stuff has been taken from our medians,” he said.
Parks and Rec has also been hit been thieves. The department says trash can liners often disappear along with newly planted trees, so they’re now planting more mature trees so they’re harder to steal.
At times, it can be a pricey problem coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.
“It gets really expensive when you have to replace the transformer systems that run the irrigation, or in some of our older medians where we have copper piping, it can get more expensive to replace that,” said Whelan.
As for the rocks, the city says they can cost up to $100 a ton to replace. Solid Waste maintains 600 acres of medians.
There has been a big push at Solid Waste over the past decade or so to landscape more and more of those medians. Right now, the city is redoing a long stretch of them on East Central.