Man takes plea deal for vandalizing Bernalillo County headquarters

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Noah Tapia faced a judge virtually Thursday to change his plea.

He admitted he was part of a group caught on camera driving to the top of an Albuquerque parking garage in October 2021. Once on the roof, multiple people, including Tapia, shot at Alvarado Square – the headquarters for Bernalillo County.

10 windows were shattered, sending glass everywhere.

“It got into the heating and cooling unit, it damaged part of the roof, it got into the mechanical working of the elevator system,” said Tia Bland, Bernalillo County spokesperson. “It damaged the first floor customer service desk, it got into the carpet and destroyed the tile – the falling glass did most of the damage.”

Initial estimates to repair the damage were around $45,000. However, by December of that year, those estimated costs ballooned to half a million.

Tapia turned himself in just a few days after the damage was done to county headquarters. He had no criminal history prior to that incident.

In 2022, Tapia cut off his ankle monitor, but then turned himself in the next day. Then, last month, he picked up a theft charge and a drug charge.

On Thursday, Tapia pleaded guilty to charges related to the vandalism and the drug charge. Other charges against him were dismissed.

“I would just like to say that I’m sorry to Bernalillo County, and all the workers for what I’ve done,” Tapia said during the hearing.

Tapia’s deal included a sentencing agreement. Under that agreement, he’s sentenced to 4 1/2 years in jail, but he will get credit for time served, and he’ll be released to serve the final 3 1/2 years on supervised probation. He will have to get a full-time job, enroll in school, or both – and pay the county back for the damage caused.

Tapia is the second suspect in this case to take a plea deal. Marcus Rowe took a plea in February. He’s pleading guilty to shooting at the county building and to a couple of other cases.

A juvenile is also charged in the case. They are still facing charges.