SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – A burglar stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a jewelry store, after smashing in the front door with a sledgehammer. Santa Fe police arrested 40-year-old Justin Romero Monday night after they say they found him peeking from behind a parking lot wall.
News 13 spoke to the owner of Earthfire Gems Gallery who says he woke up to a security alert. He says he’s been broken into before, but he’s never seen this kind of violence to get inside.
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“I looked around and it’s just a mess – glass everywhere. It’s a sad thing, it’s a sad thing,” says Forrest Fyre, owner of Earthfire Gems Gallery.
Police lapel video shows the moment police arrested Romero in a parking lot after they say he destroyed the front door and broke the glass counters. They say he stole more than $131,000 in jewelry, gems, and other merchandise. Fyre says he now has to temporarily close his shop and estimates repairs could cost him thousands of dollars.
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Kaldun Sassila is the owner of a nearby clothing store named “Eternity for Men and Women” and says his store was also broken into this weekend with a sledgehammer. “It makes me feel sad to see it here in Santa Fe. Such a beautiful city, such a great environment and to see that here in Santa Fe; it’s sad,” says Sassila.
Santa Fe Police say they’re still investigating whether the two burglaries are related. They say they will be patrolling the area throughout the holidays. Romero is currently in jail. His charges include burglary and property damage.