ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Albuquerque police’s arrest of Kellie Shugart has business owners breathing a sigh of relief.
Shugart is connected to at least seventeen burglaries this summer, and detectives are working on more charges.
Jessica Carothers, the owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar and Waxing the City in the Northeast Heights, said Shugart targeted both of her businesses within two weeks in July.
“It’s frightening to walk into a business in the morning that’s had windows removed and has been ransacked and burglarized,” said Carothers. “It definitely gives people a very unsteady feeling.”
Her surveillance cameras caught Shugart and another person cutting out the entire window pane and crawling into the living room. Police noted that technique in several other robberies. Surveillance videos from multiple boutique businesses also showed a Silver Subaru and a woman with dyed red hair.
Shugart is now facing 69 charges, ranging from conspiracy to larceny.
“It seems very clear to me that that’s someone that would remain in custody,” said Carothers. But she knows there’s a chance that won’t happen.
“Just as a common sense individual, I can’t wrap my mind around why we would allow the police to work so hard to grab some of these folks and then they’re out a couple of days later,” said Carothers. “I cannot understand that and I am pleading with people to please help us figure this out because it is extremely discouraging.”
She said the discouragement is bleeding into Albuquerque’s small business community, especially since some believe Shugart hasn’t been working alone.
“I want everyone to have a safe work environment and when people come in and take what’s not theirs and it seems like there’s no repercussions for that, that feels incredibly discouraging,” said Carothers.