'Tough old birds' need help with shoplifters - Albuquerque Journal

‘Tough old birds’ need help with shoplifters

I am one of four ladies who run a small business here in Albuquerque.

(Recently), we had a shoplifter come in. As things unfolded, we noticed he had at least $1,000 worth of stolen items on him, besides what he tried to steal from us. How did we know? The guy had price tags, including one of those security tags, all over him, a new cellphone, charging cable and charger, and more.

Trying to be good citizens, we locked the doors until the police came to apprehend him. He fell asleep, and I got lots of pictures of him and his stolen merchandise.

One of us called the police right away. She (explained) we were four senior women. I’m the youngest at 64; the rest are in their 70s. We were told an hour and a half minimum. We waited, and the thief continued to sleep. We called twice more. I was told they had 70 people on hold at that time.

Not long after that, our thief woke up and decided he wanted out. Before we could open a door, because at that point we realized he was getting violent, he smashed our glass door. We let him out and he headed south. That was around the two-hour mark.

Minutes after that, a friend came to the store. We started to tell him what was going on when four police SUVs started to tear past our store. He tried flagging them down, and finally hopped in his car and chased down the last unit, which came back at that point. It became obvious we had wasted our time and taken a terrible chance by trying to be good citizens. The officers were not concerned about the $500 glass door being shattered or about the shoplifting, and didn’t care that we knew where the thief was at that moment.

Two days before this, we had had a car stolen from our parking lot at around 10 a.m. The police didn’t show up until 5 p.m.

Such big companies as Walgreens, Home Depot, Walmart, etc. must have insurance to cover what gets stolen. I understand that employees are told to leave shoplifters alone, not to try to stop them, etc. For small businesses such as ours, every dollar counts.

So far, we have been very fortunate. We are four tough old birds and we have managed to get most of our merchandise back when we catch shoplifters. How many other small businesses are suffering the same plight?

We are short (hundreds of) police officers in this city. So short-handed that shoplifting is not crime enough for the police to take notice.

Mayor Keller, something needs to be done, NOW.


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