Bernalillo County district attorney discusses new efforts to target shoplifters

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Shoplifting has been an ongoing issue in Albuquerque and law enforcement is conducting a series of operations to combat the issue.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman is also tightening the reins when it comes to the prosecution efforts for shoplifting suspects.

Just a month ago, the district attorney’s office announced one major change that their office would be prosecuting all shoplifting cases including misdemeanors.

They have also already put the new law into effect that the legislature passed last session, allowing them to combine misdemeanor shoplifting cases and charge them as felonies.

Bregman has also signed on 14 new prosecutors to prosecute these shoplifting cases in an effort to boost the 15% conviction rate from last year. This comes after years of chronic shoplifting that seemed to go unchecked.

The district attorney said there will be opportunities for first time offenders to change course, but they will hold repeat offenders responsible.

“Since September 1, our office is now entered into 70 shoplifting cases, these are just misdemeanors,” Bregman said. “Plus, since July there have been another 30 or 40 felony shoplifting cases under the new law. We are focused like a laser beam in this office on shoplifting. It is a crime that cannot continue at its current level.”

When asked if he had a specific goal in mind for this year’s conviction rate, he said he wasn’t going to put a number on it, but it was going to be significantly better than years past.