ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque police say after hours, a crook kept on coming back, over and over again, taking items left for donations at Goodwill.
He thought he was getting away with it but it turns out he was being watched the whole time.
“We learned about this gentleman from our security cameras,” Melissa Perez with Goodwill Industries of New Mexico said.
Police say 40-year-old Juan Botello-Ruiz stole more than $10,000 worth of donations from the Goodwill at Coors and Eagle Ranch over the course of a year. He was busted this weekend after he was caught in the act.
“We were notified at the end of June that there was an issue with this,” Lt. Fernando Aragon with APD said.
It’s a crime Goodwill said has a ripple effect.
“When someone is stealing items from our donation center, they’re not just stealing from Goodwill,” Perez said. “In essence, they’re stealing from all New Mexicans.”
The non-profit takes donations, everything from furniture to clothing, and then sells those items in their retail store. Those funds are then pumped into nine programs.
Perez said the programs help more than 12,000 New Mexicans every year.
“Every time someone takes an item from our donation center, that could potentially mean one less person that were able to help,” Perez said.
The news of Botello-Ruiz and his arrest didn’t sit well with shoppers.
“I definitely think it’s wrong,” Robin Shriver said. “It’s stealing and other people need things. It’s not fair when someone just takes it.”
Goodwill had been working alongside APD to nab whoever was stealing those donations for some time now. Detectives were able to arrest Botello-Ruiz Sunday with their camera rolling the whole time.
“Anytime someone thinks they can make a quick buck, they usually go out and try that to see how much they can get away with,” Lt. Aragon said.
Police were able to look at surveillance video from Goodwill and figure out when most of the thefts were occurring. Sunday alone, Botello-Ruiz had roughly $500 worth of stuff.
Police said Botello-Ruiz would sell the stuff he stole at flea markets and yard sales.