ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — There have been a string of burglaries around Albuquerque, all with the same method of entry: thieves actually removing entire window panes to get into businesses. One business owner says all three of her businesses have been burglarized in recent months—two of which were burglarized by having a small window in the front removed.
Jessica Carothers owns the Blo Blowdry Bar and Waxing the City locations near Paseo Del Norte and San Pedro. Within weeks of each other, both shops had their windows removed and items stolen. Carothers says she’s not the only one this is happening to, either.
“July 4th—actually on the 4th of July we were robbed at Waxing the City and then the week after that we were robbed here at Blo. Exact same methodology and we have the same people on camera for both, for both robberies,” Carothers says. Carothers says it’s unknown why the removal of the window pane did not trigger her alarm system: “We don’t understand why the alarm wasn’t triggered. We’re just not sure and that seems like a mystery that no one’s been able to figure out.”
Less of mystery in these cases: the lengths these thieves are going to in order to gain access: “They’re using some sort of special tool that they actually left the tool here. So we know what the tool is,” Carothers says. The people who burglarized her shop—caught on her surveillance system—stole thousands of dollars of merchandise and money from each of her salons, each time.
“Interestingly, because there have been a number of salons all over town that have been broken into and a number of those folks are friends of mine: they’ve been taking a ton of merchandise,” Carothers says.
Albuquerque Police Department (APD) confirms: “since the beginning of June, investigators have seen an uptick in burglaries at salons and other boutique businesses like nail salons.” However, they tell KRQE News 13 that their “Impact Unit has seen more incidents of windows being cut out to get into businesses since this past December. The thieves use suction tools and other devices commonly used by glass installation companies to do this.”
“It seems to be the same—it’s two women and a man and I have pictures from my friends that own salons all over town that they have sent to me saying, ‘this exact same thing happened to us, and it even looks like the same two women and the man that are hitting all of these businesses all over town,'” Carothers says. She says it’s causing a lot of fear: “When I’ve spoken with my friend of mine in the police department the focus right now is on violent crime in our city which I understand of course but unfortunately when property crime is allowed to happen like this over and over and over again it just emboldens people. And a lot of violent criminals start as property criminals…And that is really frightening as a business owner in Albuquerque, like you know, what’s the cost of doing business in our city?” Carothers wonders.
APD tells News 13 they recently arrested 40-year-old Kellie Shugart trying to break into a dispensary with tools. They say investigators are actively looking into whether people like Shugart are tied to other burglaries around the city.
These aren’t the only cases in recent months that fit this same M.O.: on July 30th, Central New Mexico Community College’s library on the Montoya Campus was broken into, the window pane removed.
The string of burglaries at Calibers Gun Shop earlier in the year also had the burglar removing the window pane to get in and made off with thousands of dollars worth of guns stolen.