Wednesday 26 April 2023

Albuquerque Small Business Owner Shoots, Kills Would-Be Burglar Who Tunneled Through Wall

 A small business owner in Albuquerque shot and killed a man who broke into his shop in the night.

The man, who refused to be identified for his own safety, said he was sleeping in his newly-purchased smoke shop in the International District, when a man broke in and began waving weapons at him. The store had already been broken into twice before. Albuquerque Police are investigating the shooting as a “justifiable homicide.”

“PD detectives are investigating an overnight shooting as a justifiable homicide,” police said in a news release over the weekend. “Detectives learned the owner of the business … shot an intruder who appeared to [sic] breaking in with burglary tools. The man who was shot by the business owner died as a result of gunshot wounds. He has not yet been identified. Detectives are working with the District Attorney’s Office as they continue to investigate the business owner’s claims of self-defense. The man was released from the scene after an interview with detectives.”

According to local news outlet KOB 4, the incident occurred in the early morning hours on Saturday. The shop owner told the outlet that there had already been two break-in attempts, and he had been sleeping in the store since the first one. The shop has not even opened for business yet.

The owner was woken up in the middle of the night by scratching sounds coming from the side wall of the shop. Unbeknownst to the owner, a man had been scratching through the outer wall of the store. About an hour later, the man broke through the wall.  He pushed over several boxes of merchandise and entered the store, carrying a hammer and an axe or a chisel of some sort. The owner, fearing for his life, grabbed a gun and told the intruder to leave or he would shoot. Instead of leaving, the burglar approached him, swinging his tools, so he fired. The owner then called police.

Images of the hole included with KOB’s report showed a large opening in the wall, with insulation ripped away and the interior wall and floor molding destroyed. As of Monday, the owner said he has since boarded up the hole, and will be installing more security cameras soon.

Shop owners sleeping in their stores in an effort to thwart burglars is a growing trend across the country. The Daily Wire reported in January that restaurant and bar owners in Houston are sleeping in their establishments, armed, in order to protect them from robbers. The owners said that their businesses have been broken into repeatedly, sometimes by the same suspect. They placed the blame on Houston’s bail policies, which have resulted in more criminals out on the streets.

A 2021 investigation from ABC affiliate KTRK found that Houston’s bail policies have allowed more criminals back onto the streets. The outlet found that in 2011, just 3.5% of cases filed in Harris County court resulted in the defendant being released on felony bond; in 2021, the defendant was released in 18.8% of cases, nearly six times as often.

The investigation also found that criminals were committing more crimes while out on bail. In 2011, just 3.5% of cases involved a defendant who was already out on at least one existing felony bond; in 2021, that number leaped to 19%. Of those cases, 968 accused felons allegedly committed four or more new crimes since being released on bond. One case investigated by the outlet found that the offender was out on 13 separate bonds.

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