ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque police call it an unusual and scary crime – a man walks into an outdoor recreation store and steals two firearms in the middle of the day. On October 27, 2022, police say Ruben Gonzales walked into Cabela’s just before noon, stole two handguns, then walked out of the store.
“It is really brazen,” says Albuquerque Police Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock. “Not only is it happening in the middle of the store, it’s also two firearms, which is not something that this commonly shoplifted. We see most firearm thefts via burglaries.”
Cabela’s loss prevention officers were able to get a video of the theft to police and detectives have been working on the case for the past year. Then a tip came in from another law enforcement agency and identified Gonzales.
“So even though it happened last October – these things can take time, especially if we don’t know who the person is,” says Hartsock. Albuquerque police were able to track down Gonzales and arrest him last Friday. They are still searching for the two stolen handguns.
“As long as the serial numbers are still on them if they come into law enforcement’s hands anywhere in the world, it will trigger an alert to us,” Hartsock says.
Trying to bolster the harsh impact retail crime is having on New Mexico, Gonzales’s criminal complaint states New Mexico has lost about 5,000 jobs and $37 million in tax revenue from the problem. It’s also cost workers here up to $28 million in lost wages. “It is not just the pure economic loss factor that is important, of course, because someone pays for it somewhere,” says Hartsock.
However, Hartsock says it’s more than just the financial loss. “The employees in the store and other customers, they have a right to feel safe when they go to work. They have a right to feel safe when they walk into a place to do legitimate shopping and make purchases and that is a harder cost to measure but we know it is a big one,” he says.
The state has filed a motion to keep Ruben Gonzales in jail until trial. That hearing is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday.