Goodwill fleecer busted stealing donated items

Updated: 07/14/2014 6:22 PM | Created: 07/14/2014 5:48 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Police say he did his shopping when the store was closed and the price he paid was always the same, nothing.

But now an Albuquerque man is behind bars, accused of ripping off Goodwill Industries stores for months.

Here’s how Goodwill works.

People drop off stuff to donate like furniture, appliances and clothes. The sale of that stuff helps Goodwill provide job training for the homeless, the disabled and other people who need help.

Sometimes people leave their donated goods on the loading dock after store hours, and police say that’s when Juan Manuel Botello Rios would strike, loading merchandise into his pickup truck and hauling it away.

“The donations that we generously receive from the community are what we sell to raise the funds to provide our programs and services for the community,” said Melissa Perez of Goodwill. “So when someone steals from one of our donation centers, they’re not just stealing from Goodwill – they’re in essense stealing from the community.”

Police say that while Botello Rios was diligent at what he did, there was one thing he wasn’t counting on – surveillance cameras busted him bigtime.

Now he’s charged with larceny over $500 but less than $2,500 – a fourth degree felony which could mean up to 18 months in jail.

But hang on a minute – Botello Rios is from Zacateccas, Mexico and federal immigration authorities have a hold order on him – so he could be back home south of the border pretty quickly.

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