Residents: Public housing robberies are inside job

Embudo Towers

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Patricia Carter believes someone went through her personal belongings in her apartment while she was away. But it’s how they got in that has her worried for her safety.

“I started seeing things were moved,” Carter told KRQE News 13 this week.

Carter and three other people say they were burglarized while living at Embudo Towers. It’s a public housing building for seniors and the disabled run by the Albuquerque Housing Authority. The residents all suspect it was in inside job, because there were no signs of forced entry.

“It was a key,” Carter said. “A key was used, that’s how they were getting in and out.”

Carter said in the eight years she lived there, she knew people had slipped in and out of her apartment, going through her things.

“My money (was) gone in my personal drawer with my underclothing,” Carter said.

One time, Carter said she smelled marijuana in her apartment when she came home. Another time, something strange was missing.

“I’m looking in my freezer and I’m like, ahh, I know I had steaks, I said I know I had roast — it’s all gone — hamburger meat,” she said.

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Someone also had broken into her storage unit inside the building.

“They got my computer, they got electronics, they got things of value,” Carter added.

However, she said what happened to her friend in apartment 209B made her so uneasy that she moved out last month.

Jeff Brugger died in his apartment. He was found by Albuquerque Housing Authority staff on Sept. 4. His family members were told they couldn’t get into his apartment until there was a death certificate. When they arrived 10 days later, they found it was ransacked and looted.

“There was no evidence of forced entry,” said Bob Brugger, Jeff’s brother.

Paintings were ripped from the wall, a flat screen TV was gone and so was more than $40,000 worth of jewelry and watches.

“Somebody had a key and came in after they took his body out,” said Bonnie Brugger, Jeff’s sister-in-law. “So is it a ring of thieves? I don’t know.”

The victims filed police reports. Albuquerque Housing Authority’s Executive Director, Linda Bridge, won’t do an interview on camera, but she told News 13 the authority handed over the surveillance video to police to see if they can pin down a suspect. APD said officers are reviewing the video.

News 13 gave the names of the other break-in victims to the Albuquerque Housing Authority.

Residents still living at Embudo Towers are buzzing about the break-ins.

“If I found out they’re going around breaking into people’s homes, I’m going to turn their ass in in a minute,” said a resident who didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

Everyone just wants answers.

“I want something done about this,” Carter said.

Accusations of inside theft aren’t just happening at the Albuquerque Housing Authority. James Christopher lived in Seybold Village on Central Familiar Blvd. SW. That’s run by the Bernalillo County Housing Authority.

Christopher said someone with a key let himself in more than a dozen times. He says thieves even stole a bag of potato chips from his apartment.

Watch News 13’s interview with Christopher:

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