ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man accused of breaking into multiple homes while posing as a home inspector was arrested by the Albuquerque Police Department on Wednesday.
Philip Andrew Cotham Jr. is charged with two counts of residential burglary, breaking and entering, tampering with evidence, and criminal damage to property over $1,000, police said.
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APD said it launched an investigation into a series of residential burglaries that occurred between June 26, 2023, and July 28, 2023, in various locations throughout the city. In some incidents, Cotham was reportedly seen wearing a DaBella roofing company shirt and posing as a contractor inspecting the home.
APD said Cotham knew what to say as he was previously employed with DaBella roofing company. “He would use the same shtick talking about wanting to inspect their roof, ‘Can I come in the yard? Can I look around?’ Some people would accept it. Some people wouldn’t. What he was really doing was casing the houses,” said Kyle Hartsock, commander in investigations at APD.
Police said they tried to arrest Cotham while he was trying to break into a home near Taylor Ranch. Cotham reportedly ran but was caught with assistance from APD’s air unit. A lapel video released by APD showed officers placing Cotham in handcuffs in the backyard of a home. In the video, the officer is heard asking Cotham why he ran. Cotham said, “All my stuff just got stolen out of my car, and I got beat up.”
When Cotham was arrested, detectives learned that he was wearing jewelry from a separate burglary that had happened that morning, but the homeowner had not yet reported it, according to police.
APD said Cotham admitted to the burglaries, including one where a 15-year-old girl was home alone when he entered the home to steal. Police said a charge is pending for the incident where the teen was home. “The fact that he has a sexual assault history, breaking into homes in the middle of the day, and at least one of them a 15-year-old girl is home alone during it, we wanted to really aggressively locate him and arrest him,” said Hartsock.
Police used videos from home surveillance cameras to help track Cotham down. APD’s Pawn Shop Unit was able to locate some of the stolen property being resold and is working to recover it and return it to the victims.