Video shows men allegedly stealing purses from Albuquerque store

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This weekend, a woman was shopping with her son when she says multiple men came into an Uptown department store, and started hauling out armfuls of purses.

“Normally, there is a security guard at the door, but there wasn’t today,” said Kellie Nickerson.

Nickerson was able to pull her phone out in time to capture the last person on camera.

“I was shocked. I’m aware shoplifting happens around the city, but I have never witnessed it so boldly and so consistently,” said Nickerson. 

Nickerson says she then called 911 but didn’t get the help she expected.

“So I reported it, and they said that there was nothing they could do because I was not an employee, and the employees had not asked me to call,” Nickerson said 

After witnessing such a bold robbery, Nickerson is questioning future shopping trips.

“It makes me feel like I should shop online more simply. Mostly, because I don’t want my son seeing that or anything dangerous that could come from that. It’s also just unnerving knowing something could happen to an employee or a customer as well,” said Nickerson. 

Since May, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Albuquerque Police Department have been cracking down on retail crime. The departments have identified malls like Cottonwood and Coronado as some of the bigger problem areas in town.

“We’re trying to be proactive, we have heard the information that they’ve been reporting that they are having specific issues, and it has gotten quite organized,” said BCSO Major Holly Anderson.

So organized APD says some of these thieves time out their heists to use city buses as their getaway car. But officers are catching on.

APD posted a video last week showing officers arresting two men who they say stole alcohol from a Walgreens. 

Then, this weekend, they posted another update of an arrest down the street from Coronado Center where security guards told police a repeat shoplifter walked out of the mall with an expensive kitchen appliance.

Nickerson says it’s videos like these that give her hope things are improving, but says we still have a long way to go.

“That is really wonderful to hear. It seems it’s still a problem and I don’t know if we can increase our police force that drastically to stop it,” said Nickerson. 

The Legislature is also trying to step in and help. This year, they passed a new law that targets repeat offenders allowing police to stack multiple retail theft charges together to get the charges to a felony level.

APD also posted some new statistics this weekend that broke down how many arrests they’ve made thanks to their Retail Crime Operation.

APD says they made 83 arrests for shoplifting, 18 criminal summonses, and 30 warrant arrests.