ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s been a lot of talks recently of cracking down on shoplifting crimes, but is it actually happening? On Tuesday, an Albuquerque serial shoplifter got sentenced after a sweet plea deal, getting less than half of the time he would’ve been facing without the deal.
Over the summer, Adrian Aragon pled guilty to nine felony counts of shoplifting and robbery. The cap on the plea agreement was five and a half years. On Tuesday, Judge Brett Loveless gave him four years in prison.
“I fully appreciate the fact that you’re grappling from addiction and that you need help, and it sounds like you have a plan going forward in order to get that help. But, at the same time, given the gravity of the situation and all that it is that you did, I do think an initial period of incarceration was warranted,” said Judge Loveless.
Without the plea deal, Aragon would’ve been facing more than 10 years in prison. Investigators say, Aragon, along with the mother of his child, Alexis Abeyta, hit at least eight stores from January to April of last year, including gas stations and Walgreens.
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On Tuesday, the state tried to paint Aragon as a dangerous individual with a criminal history dating back to 2009. But, the defense argued he is a good person suffering from drug addiction. “There’s never any indication that he was maliciously or intentionally trying to hurt people during this series of drug-fueled events,” said John McCall, who is representing Aragon.
The defense even got Aragon’s family to testify that he is a good person who just needs the right guidance to overcome his addiction. KRQE has an inquiry into the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office asking why Aragon was given a plea deal in the first place and if four years is enough time for the crimes.
“Four years of incarceration is a significant sentence for this type of shoplifting. That, with the additional 6.5 years of probation and parole, ensures that the community will be kept from this defendant’s harm. With shoplifting incidents occurring during COVID and the staff turnover experienced by retailers, it can be challenging to maintain the participation of witnesses needed under the rules of our jurisdiction,” said a spokesperson with the DA’s Office.
After serving his time, Aragon will have years of probation, which includes completing an addiction treatment program. In court on Tuesday, his defense said he has already been accepted to a six-month program. Aragon was also granted more than a year of time served, so he could be out in three years. As for Abeyta, she is still awaiting trial.