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Residents believe thieves used drone to case their homes

Kassi Nelson
November 03, 2017 10:08 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- After living in his Ridgecrest house for more than 20 years, Wallace Lopez is on more on edge than ever. He said crime, especially theft, in his neighborhood southeast of Nob Hill is completely out of control.

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"But you know when you’re away from your home, in the back of your mind you’re wondering, 'Okay am I going to get broken into? What’s going to happen next?'" he said.

Around 1 a.m. Friday morning, police were called out to his street again. A woman on the block said she called 911 after she woke up to people talking outside her home. When she looked out, she said she saw three or four people shining flashlights into windows and flying a drone through hers and other nearby yards.

Police arrested Kevin Romero, who also goes by the alias Lance Martinez. According to a criminal complaint, Romero said he was "playing" with the drone while he waited for his friend to help fix a flat tire on a truck. Police said that vehicle was stolen, and Romero had heroin on him.

But neighbors believe he was doing more than "playing." They believe he was taking snooping to a whole new level.

Lopez said he's glad neighbors were diligent. He's taken precautions to protect himself and his belongings by putting up a 10-foot fence around his backyard along with cameras. But in this day and age, he said there’s only so much one can do.

"Drones are very inexpensive now. People use them for all sorts of different things," he said. "So that level of technology could have been something they could have been looking in the backyard. Is there a shop in the backyard? Is there a shed? Who knows?" Lopez said.

People who live in the area said they’ll continue to watch out for each other. 

Romero is facing multiple charges, including receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, and possession of a controlled substance.

Credits

Kassi Nelson

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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