Melaquias Romero is the main suspect in the theft of a Pomeranian with special needs.
Once Albuquerque police arrested him, detectives were then able to connect him to dozens of other thefts and burglaries around the city.
“This guy has just been tearing the whole city up in the mean time and he didn’t care what he took,” Officer Simon Drobik said.
Drobik said it was quite the burglary spree.
“Thirty to fifty burglaries in three weeks, that we know of, because these guys are non-stop,” he said.
One of those cases involve Kacie Martin. On March 17, a man broke into Martin’s 4-Runner while she was at the gym. The thief, who police believe was Romero, took off with her purse. Inside of that purse, was Aiden, a 6-year-old Pomeranian.
“It was like an emotional roller coaster,” Martin said. “I can’t imagine what in 12 days he went through.”
Albuquerque Police said Romero first came on their radar at the beginning of this month. Since then they said, he’s been breaking into cars at gyms, schools and homes all over the northeast heights.
Last week, officers caught Romero looking in people’s cars at a gym off Coors and Montano. When they approached Romero in order to question him, they say he took off and fired shots at them.
According to detectives, he didn’t act alone in any of this. Police said his girlfriend, Amber Salazar, and his ex-girlfriend, Veronica Meza, were in on it too.
Still, police said it took time for detectives to build a case.
“You’re picking up leads, you’re looking at surveillance. Countless hours of detective work,” Officer Drobik said. “We know that he’s going to run from us so we had to come up with a plan to take him into custody.”
It happened Tuesday.
“When he found him at a gas station, he kind of rammed a couple of police units while they were trying to take him into custody,” Officer Drobik said. “He ran, and a K-9 was used to get him. During that he actually had Kacie’s credit cards in his hands.”
Martin said she wasn’t surprised she was just one victim of many. As for Aiden, she said an Albuquerque couple found him in a box, on the side of a busy Albuquerque road, Monday.
“It was one of those times where timing worked well and somebody saw these people dumping something and speeding off,” Martin said.
The couple called Martin Thursday morning after seeing Aiden all over social media.
“With everybody sharing and posting and flyers and everybody being out there, he wouldn’t be home and APD, I can’t say enough great things,” she said.