ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CNN) - Management at Salvation Army said there has been an uptick in severe damages to all four properties in New Mexico since the pandemic — particularly at their location on Juan Tabo and Central.
The damage includes multiple break-ins, a string of fires and broken AC units to list a few.
“We’re just really frustrated,” said Paul Cebada, the Director of Operations at Salvation Army. “After the losses that have incurred, we’re looking at well over $50,000 worth of damages and it’s unfortunate.”
As a result, it has caused their location on Juan Tabo and Central to shut down.
“This store, in particular, has been closed for just a little over a month,” Cebada said. “Our stores — all the product we have from our stores – fund an adult rehabilitation program for the Salvation Army. So, when we have all these break-ins, it sets us back and we can’t utilize our resources to fully support that program.”
They believe homeless people nearby are responsible.
“We had to fix our gates, as far as our barbed wires are concerned,” Cebada said. “We’ve also put plywood inside the store, so they don’t cut through the pro panels and right through insolation.”
Management said they’ve exhausted all options, so they decided to take matters into their own hands.
The barbed wires were used to protect the property.
Cebada said they’ve reached out to the City of Albuquerque and the police, but to no avail.
"We filed multiple police reports online and both calling in,” Cebada said. “We have seen police force around here. It just hasn’t been enough to scare off any of the bad people who are doing this.”
The city of Albuquerque sent a notice of violation to Salvation Army Management in regard to the barbed wires on site.
According to the notice, they have until Jan. 1, 2023, to remove them.
The city of Albuquerque sent a statement to KOAT in response to the issue:
“On April 24 and 28, 311 received complaints about the barbed wire fence at 12601 Central Ave. Code Enforcement visited the property, did an inspection and deemed the fence to be illegal. A notice of violation was issued. They have until January 1, 2023 to remove the barbed wire.
In the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO), part 14-16-6: Administration and Enforcement, subsection 6-8(D)(8)(b) it states, “Walls or fences partially or completely constructed of barbed tape, barbed wire, razor wire, or similar materials where these materials are not allowed pursuant to Subsection 14-16-5-7(E)(1)(c) are considered illegal and shall be removed within the following timeframes:
1. For Residential and Non-residential zone districts, as specified by the Code Enforcement Division of the City Planning Department in notice provided to the property owner.
2. For Mixed-use zone districts, by January 1st, 2023.”
“I did leave the city of Albuquerque a voicemail in getting back to me, as far as what code we are in violation of, and no one’s reached back yet,” Cebada said.
Management believes the violation order is unjust but hopes a resolution can be made between all parties.
“We’re kind of running out of options,” Cebada said. “I think the next step — maybe look into, if it’s affordable for the Salvation Army, is to hire a security company to rove our locations.”