Thieves steal thousands from local grief center
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A local nonprofit that helps community members through some of their most difficult times, needs some help of its own.
The Grief Center in northeast Albuquerque has been preparing to reopen in September, with a lot of new changes. But over the Fourth of July weekend, someone broke in and burglarized their new facility.
“It’s really been quite devastating, but we know that we’re going to come through this okay, and that everybody actually was safe,” said Development Director Suzie Blake.
The devastation comes on the heels of what was supposed to be an exciting time of moving and rebranding.
“We’ve been around for 20 years, but you may know us by a different name, ‘The Children’s Grief Center,’” she said. “We recently changed our name to ‘The Grief Center’ because we merged with another grief support group that was helping adults.”
Blake said they could not expand their services without a larger facility, so they decided to move into the Center for Hope and Healing on Carlisle. The break-in happened shortly afterward.
“They knew what they were doing, they came prepared, and they were able to access our building without being detected,” Blake said.
She added that tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and supplies were taken.
“We had two telehealth monitors that were taken that were going to be used for our virtual grief support groups this fall, we’ve had laptops taken,” she said.
It also appears someone got into the roof and stole wiring for the HVAC system.
“We currently don’t have any air in the building, and it’s warm and stuffy,” Blake said.
The Grief Center’s biggest concern is that this will push back its opening date, keeping valuable services from people who need them.
“Being able to pick up the phone and get here to be a part of our groups, to work with others that are going through the exact same thing that they’re going through, to share their story, to share their feelings, to learn from others, and for kids to be kids is really important,” Blake said.
So they are asking the community for help.
“What we need right now is financial support from the community to be able to help us, not only replace the items that were taken, but also to help cover the cost of having the damage repaired,” Blake said. “We want to be available for the community because the community has supported us all this time, and if they could just support us again, that would be really great.”