DA Sam Bregman provides update on efforts to curb retail crime

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Retail crime has been a big issue in our community for a long time. So much so, law enforcement, legislators and the Bernalillo County district attorney are trying to fight the problem from many angles. 

KOB 4 spoke to DA Sam Bregman about their recent efforts to curb crime. 

“We have far too many people shoplifting in this community, we are going to prosecute every single one of them that we can. It is a priority for this office, for the sheriff, for the chief, it’s a priority for me,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman. 

In early October, KOB 4’s cameras got a first-hand look at just how bad things are in the metro.

During an APD ride along several people were caught with stolen clothes. 

Bregman says that’s just the beginning of a retail crime case. After someone is arrested his office takes over. 

“Any criminal case is only as good as the evidence that we have to prosecute with, and I will tell you that law enforcement is doing an amazing job working on this very issue. Also, the business community is doing an amazing job collaborating with law enforcement to making sure we are putting things in place to make this as efficient as possible,” said Bregman. 

His office has added 14 prosecutors to take on these cases with a hope of increasing the 15% conviction rate from last year. 

“One of the things we’re doing right off the bat is putting the new law into effect that the Legislature passed last session to allow us to combine shoplifting cases, misdemeanor shoplifting cases and charge them as felonies. We’ve charged over 30 of those in just a few short months,” Bregman said.  

When asked what his goal was for this year, he says he doesn’t want to put a number on it, but it will be significantly better than years past. 

“Since Sept.1 our office is now entered into 70 shoplifting cases, these are just misdemeanors. Plus, since July another 30 or 40 some 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,” said Bregman.