ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A family who stopped in Albuquerque during their cross country move woke up to find everything they owned gone, including something they can’t replace: a family member’s ashes.
“Everything we had was in that truck,” Michael Galceran said. “I went to bed thinking everything was going to be secure.”
Michael and his mother, Rosemary, were making the trip together. The two were traveling from California to Kentucky when they stopped in Albuquerque. They rented a room last Sunday night at the Best Western off Rio Grande and I-40.
“We woke up in the morning and everything was gone,” Michael said. “Our whole lives were in that vehicle and it was devastating. How do you pick up the pieces? How do you start over?”
The two spoke with KRQE News 13 last Tuesday. They filed a police report and left Albuquerque not really expecting to hear back.
But Albuquerque police said Detective Dakota Moore saw the family on the news and moved the case to the top of his list.
“Every case is important to us,” Sgt William Dorian said. “But with cases like this, we know time is of the essence. Sometimes stolen property changes hands several times. So we felt their pain when we saw them give their interviews.”
Then, this week Michael received a phone call from Moore, telling him police had recovered their stolen U-Haul and SUV, along with a lot of property still inside.
“We just looked at each other and said, ‘Wow.'” Michael said. “We went from one end of the pendulum, which was total devastation, to ecstatic and brought to tears.”
Surveillance cameras captured photos of the two suspected thieves at the hotel. When the family first spoke with KRQE News 13, they said everything from tools to photos, and most importantly the ashes of Rosemary’s husband, were in the truck.
Sgt. Dorian said they received several tips through Crime Stoppers. Those tips led police to Edgewood where they believe the thieves dumped the U-Haul. The suitcases full of Michael’s tools were found behind a business in Old Town.
Then police located one of the suspects, John Bowker, 34, in northeast Albuquerque Tuesday afternoon.
Rosemary said she had several meaningful possessions in the U-Haul, but it’s the ashes she wanted back the most.
“They’re very good at their jobs and we thank them all. We thank everyone for their support,” she said.
There were some items police said they have yet to recover.
They are also still looking for the second suspect, 29-year-old Lucian Tapia.
Bowker was also arrested last Tuesday for receiving stolen property, but at the time police hadn’t connected him to this case and he was out of jail the next day.