Police investigate, west side businesses band together after a string of smash and grabs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- Several west side shops are banding together after a string of recent break-ins.

Two stores were broken into in the last week, one of them was hit twice and it was caught on camera.

These small business owners are still making repairs after a couple of smash and grabs.

Now, they’re teaming up, sharing video and information to try to catch the burglars.

“We need to help each other out to stay safe. We can’t let them win. You can’t let them take over,” Melissa Cortez said. “I know a lot of people have been going through it around us and it needs to stop for all of us.”

Cortez owns the Electric Clouds near Coors and I-40.

She captured video surveillance of two thieves breaking into her shop, early Thursday morning.

They are in-and-out in less than a minute, using what appears to be bats or a hammer to get inside and into the display cases.

The thieves are wearing gloves and it’s tough to see their faces, but Cortez says they look a lot like two of the burglars who broke in on Mother’s Day.

She has a video of that, too. Yet, those thieves did not appear prepared.

Those burglars used a rock to break in, took a lot longer to gather merchandise and left fingerprints for police to find.

No one was hurt and the items can be replaced, but Cortez and others say, that’s not the point.

“You just work so hard. You work so hard for someone to just come in and ruin it. It’s very disheartening,” Cortez said.

“You feel violated. We try very hard in this industry to help and be a benefit to the community,” James Spargo said.

Spargo owns TKO Vapor at Golf Course and Paseo.

He was hit Wednesday, early morning. Now, Spargo is updating his camera system and allowing his employees to conceal carry, with a permit.

Another shop owner says someone tried to break into his shop Wednesday night, an hour before TKO was hit, but was unable to get inside.

Albuquerque Police officers say they are investigating to see if the crimes are related.

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