Albuquerque police arrest 31 in retail crime operation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Changes are coming for shoplifters, come July. A new law will charge people with a felony if they are caught stealing multiple times in a 90-day period.

In the past week, the Albuquerque Police Department arrested 31 people during a retail crime operation.

APD detectives spent days outside different shops near Coronado and Cottonwood Mall.

“We are not delusional that we can always arrest and charge 100% of the offenders,” said Kyle Hartsock, APD commander. “But just like the other operations that the chief does in certain time periods, we want zero tolerance zones.”

According to police, nearly $7,000 in merchandise was recovered during the operation.

“One of the things we found is that out of the 31 offenders, 29 of them did not drive a car to the store to commit theft,” Hartsock said. “A big handful of them were using the city bus or walking up from places we couldn’t clearly see.”

APD Chief Harold Medina said this is just the beginning of these operations.

“We need to bring available resources to drug addicts, we need to bring available resources to people with mental health illnesses, and the homeless,” Medina said.

APD had around 15 officers dedicated to the retail operation.