BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been over a month since New Mexico’s new retail crime law took effect. Albuquerque prosecutors said it’s already showing results in getting serial shoplifters off the streets.
One of the accused serial shoplifters, Julian Grey Bustos, which Bernalillo County District Attorney (DA) Sam Bregman wants to be held in custody until trial, is charged with stealing at least five times from Kohl’s off Louisiana Boulevard and Holly Avenue in the Northeast Heights.
District Attorney Sam Bregman said there are plenty more suspects like Bustos.
“We are really looking forward to the new law that has taken effect, and we are excited about that opportunity. Law enforcement and retail organizations are really working together,” Bregman said.
According to the DA, New Mexico’s new retail crime law is giving prosecutors an extra tool, which lets the state add up multiple thefts from stores into one big felony case.
“Five of them have been detained in the last week. They have been held because they are a danger to the community. We cannot allow this kind of retail crime shoplifting to continue,” Bregman said.
The DA’s Office said, three of the five suspects (Oliver Manning, Joshua Peralto, and Nathan Castillo) are all accused of stealing alcohol from a Walgreens store in Northeast Heights. The fifth suspect was accused of retail theft at a local department store.
“I think five people held under pretrial detention makes a very clear message to the community, and those that may shoplift, that we are going to hold shoplifters accountable. There is no more looking the other way. This office is looking right at you if you’re shoplifting, and you will be prosecuted,” Bregman said.
Some local business owners said they’ve seen their fair share of shoplifters welcome the new law, saying it gives them a sense of relief.
“They’ll walk in, grab a handful of records, two or three boxes of legos, and run away, just run out to the door. Maybe, they’ll second guess their actions, and maybe, it’ll have an effect, I certainly hope so,” said Astro Zombies Owner Chris Losack.
Under the new law, prosecutors can charge all the way up to a second-degree felony if criminals steal more than $20,000 worth of merchandise.