Albuquerque police step up efforts to stop shoplifters

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Albuquerque Police Department recently stepped up efforts to stop shoplifters.

On Monday, Albuquerque police officers were patrolling near the Target on Louisiana and Indian School in northeast Albuquerque. That’s when they got a call from Target employees about Joseph Felipe. 

Court documents say the employees told police Felipe was shoplifting from the store. 

Lapel video released by APD shows an officer pulling merchandise out of Felipe’s backpack.

Court documents say Felipe stole over $100 worth of electronics. But before officers could arrest him, he ran away and led police on a short chase. 

This wasn’t the first time Felipe allegedly shoplifted from a Target. The criminal complaint says he’s done it six times, including this latest incident for a total of $823.27.  

He was in court Tuesday for the first time. Felipe is charged with felony shoplifting and resisting arrest. 

A judge decide to let Felipe go with conditions of release:  

“So Mr. Felipe you’ll be released on your own recognizance under the PML 2,” said Bernalillo County Metropolitan Judge Henry A. Alaniz. 

Felipe wasn’t the only serial shoplifter in court. Celina Corova was also before a judge after police arrested her for allegedly stealing from the Target on Montgomery in northeast Albuquerque. 

According to court documents, employees saw her stealing baby items three separate times. 

Totaling at $1,206.93, she’s also charged with felony shoplifting. This isn’t her first time facing charges like this.

“One case is currently pending out of Sandoval County with judge Montonyo Baca for shoplifting over $500,” said Breana Garcia, prosecutor.  

The judge also released her with conditions. 

In both cases, APD says officers were working as part of the Northeast Proactive Response Team. This comes after a larger operation to target retail crime, Operation Sticky Fingers.

An APD spokesperson says during the operation, 196 people were charged with retail theft. 42 people were arrested on warrants while loitering in retail areas like Target. 

Felipe and Cordova are expected to be back in court in the coming weeks on the felony charges. 

An APD spokesperson says the department is continuing proactive patrols and working with businesses.