Local lab targeted by would-be copper thieves 

Local lab targeted by would-be copper thieves

Southwest Labs was added to the growing list of Albuquerque businesses being targeted by copper thieves.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – You can add a local lab to the growing list of Albuquerque businesses being targeted by copper thieves. It’s a trend Albuquerque police identified a few weeks ago, saying it’s a crime that ebbs and flows.

This is now the fourth significant copper theft we’ve reported on in just over a month, happening from the Northeast Heights to the West Side. 

“That was definitely a big explosion,” said Brian Cavazos Galvez, director of Sales Analytics and Operations with Southwest Labs.

People can see sparks fly in the surveillance video as a thief pulls Southwest Lab’s power source off the outside wall. 

“They actually didn’t get any copper, but they caused, as you see in the video, $120,000 worth of damage, and it definitely disrupted our lab operations,” said Galvez. 

It knocked the power out at the lab and at least one of its neighbors in the industrial park near Jefferson and I-25. 

“It delayed a couple runs, but nothing crazy. More so, just the financial impact and the extra stress that it’s put on our employees to get everything up and running,” Galvez said. 

The lab produced its own video, asking for other businesses to share and stay safe. 

“It’s unfortunate that it comes to that. The brazenness in terms of having his face that close to the camera, I hope it was an accident to be honest because that’s pretty, pretty brazen there,” said Galvez. 

At first glance, we thought it was Brian Robinson. APD arrested him about two weeks ago, accused of stealing more than $50,000 worth of copper in March. A judge let him out of jail a few days later.

With a closer look at the eyes, the thief at Southwest Labs appears to be someone else.

“We realize it’s possible that other people are involved in this, usually my experience with this is you don’t have a high volume of people do it, but you have a few individuals that really spike it at once,” said APD Commander Jeffery Barnard with the Investigative Services Division. 

Barnard said last week they’ve seen a recent spike in copper theft. Businesses like Southwest Labs are anxiously waiting for it to crash. 

“Locally-owned and operated lab, and we’re just trying to do our best to service the community,” said Galvez. 

This lab says on top of the cost to fix the busted power supply, it’s paying to power the building with a diesel-powered generator.

Not to mention the increased cost of replacement copper that they say is thanks to all the recent local thefts. 

If you recognize the man in these videos, call police.