ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Roberto Vasquez hears his clients’ stories all the time.
“As a hairdresser, they share things with me. They hear a lot and I listen to them,” he said.
During her career, these people include stars like Liza Minnelli and Michael Jackson.
Now Vasquez wants to tell his own story – a series of crimes at his Albuquerque business, his heart and his soul: Roberto’s Salon in San Mateo. He described property damage, break-ins and break-ins.
“Vandalism. They take the awnings, the metal. Garden chairs. The little tables you have there for people who want to sit down and rest,” he said. “Break the doors, break the glass. The chairs, gone. The rugs are gone. Tools missing. Feces, needles, drug use.
Vasquez showed last month’s KOB 4 surveillance video, which he says shows people with drugs right outside his living room.
He said the whole thing had cost him tens of thousands of dollars over the past few months.
“It’s very frustrating because I pay taxes. I pay all taxes and support our system,” he said. “This is home. I was born and raised here. I love Albuquerque.
But after what happened Wednesday night, Vasquez said he was fed up.
“Last night I lost it because I chased them and followed the car, which is really dangerous,” he said.
Vasquez said he sued someone he believed damaged his property, claiming he cut nearby power lines and turned off some lights to be in the dark. They broke glass and they tried to take his cameras away.
Albuquerque police didn’t show up until the next morning, and he said they often didn’t answer when he called.
“There are no police to follow. We have nothing. We have nothing,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Albuquerque Police Department gave details of the six times they say they have responded to the show since April. Sometimes officers arrived within 20 minutes, although one wait lasted almost two hours.
Overall, a spokesperson said that in the absence of an immediate threat, officers often have to prioritize the most urgent calls and then revert back to business owners like Vasquez.
Even with the pandemic and these crimes, Vasquez said he’s not going anywhere.
“I’m going to stay here until I can’t get up anymore,” he said.
Vasquez said he’s been running his salon in Albuquerque for 41 years, continuing to improve his cameras, lights and alarms, but he doesn’t know if or when these suspected criminals will stop.