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Suspect in Green Jeans burglaries charged in five more break-ins

Nicholas Smith, 23 (MDC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three days after police arrested Nicholas Smith in a string of burglaries at the Green Jeans Farmery shipping container development, another nearby business came forward to say they believe he had also been breaking into their store multiple times over the past three months.

Smith, 23, who had been released from jail after his arrest in the Green Jeans case, was arrested again Thursday night. He is charged with five more counts of commercial burglary, criminal damage to property and other crimes.

The new charges come after the manager at a Murphy Express gas station saw Smith’s arrest on a news broadcast and called police to say that she recognized him from her own surveillance videos.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Smith had stolen more than $4,000 worth of food and caused $5,500 in damage in five burglaries at the gas station over a three-month period. Each time the manager met with police, she made a report and turned over surveillance video.

Within the same time, Smith stole more than $3,000 worth of cash and belongings from multiple businesses at Green Jeans in at least eight burglaries, according to another criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The business owners turned over surveillance footage to police in those cases as well, but it took more than a month for officers to arrest Smith, who had been hanging out in the arroyo behind Green Jeans.

An Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman said two officers had not filed their reports on the break-ins for two weeks, which she said was longer than it should have taken.

The burglaries began to get significant attention after businesses said they knew Smith was responsible and he had not been arrested. Other business owners, particularly in the Downtown area, have recently been saying there is too much crime in the city.

Celina Espinoza, an APD spokeswoman, said she is glad Smith’s first arrest led to another business being able to point to him as a suspect in their robbery.

“For other victims in that area, if they think he might be connected to their burglaries, we’d love to work in partnership with them,” Espinoza said.

Smith is being held in the county jail until a hearing next week, when a 2nd Judicial District judge will decide whether he should be held until trial.