APD chief responds to viral video showing thieves take Walgreens’ liquor

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A viral video from July showed men calmly stealing liquor bottles from a Walgreens in northeast Albuquerque in the middle of the day. 

Two of those men were arrested, but it’s sparked a larger conversation about this issue. Many people have criticized the Albuquerque Police Department for not responding or seemingly doing anything to stop these types of thefts. 

KOB 4 spoke with APD Chief Harold Medina about how the department is responding to this growing issue in the metro. 

“We would never tolerate a gun store who left the guns out in the open and somebody walked in, and took whatever gun they wanted,” said Medina.  

Medina says alcohol has the same deadly consequences, and recent liquor thefts at Walgreen’s stores are a growing issue. 

“The disappointing part is that the video going viral is how the Albuquerque Police Department was alerted to the theft,” Medina said. “That video going viral is why we took the initiative to investigate these cases, and how we ended up getting arrests in these cases.”

Medina says APD can’t do anything if it doesn’t know about the thefts. 

In this case, Medina says APD didn’t know about the theft until the video went viral.

After this incident, KOB 4 spoke to Doug Vigil, a man who wrote a letter to Walgreens after seeing the video.

“The nerve of these criminals walking in, filling up their bags, taking their time. They don’t even seem to care that they’re being filmed,” said Vigil in early July. 

Medina says he’s sending a letter to Walgreen’s with strong safety recommendations for metro locations.

“The biggest thing is to separate the community from the alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with setting up a counter where people can go up, view what they’d like to purchase, it’d be handed over to somebody after the purchase. And that would eliminate the vast majority of just the walk in thefts that are occurring,” said Medina. 

He also says Walgreens should add more cameras around stores to help solve crimes. 

The chief says APD doesn’t have enough resources to station officers at every single Walgreen’s in the metro. 

“Walgreens should be able to hire security guards and allow them to do their job. But they also have to vet those security guards properly,” Medina said. 

Medina says the letter will go out Friday, and he hopes APD can continue to work with Walgreen’s.

“Things cannot remain the way they are,” said Medina. 

KOB 4 reached out to Walgreens about the issue Tuesday but have not heard back.