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Officers Calm Woman Robbed at Gunpoint

Friday's Heroes: Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Officer Morgen McBrayer, Officer Steve Lowell, Officer Paul Haugh, Officer David Munoz, and Officer Dwight Porlas Jr.

Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized officers from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) for their attention and care of a distraught woman who was robbed at gunpoint. Through team work Officer Morgen McBrayer, Officer Steve Lowell, Officer Paul Haugh, Officer David Munoz and Officer Dwight Porlas Jr. all went above and beyond to comfort the woman after the incident, give her guidance on how to deal with the situation if the thieves should reach out to her again, and help her to get her stolen car keys back.

Last November, Johanna Peterson went to Roosevelt Park in Southeast Albuquerque to walk her dog. While letting her dog out of the car, a man walked up to her and demanded that she turn over her car keys to him. He showed her his gun and threatened if she did not hand them over he would hurt her. Fearing for her and her dog’s wellbeing, she quickly obeyed the criminal’s commands, gave him her keys, and ran toward a group of young men in the park yelling for help. As she fled, Peterson heard the motor of her car start but did not hear it leave the parking lot. One of the young men she ran towards called 911 and asked that police respond immediately. When she felt she was a safe distance away, she looked back and saw her car still sitting by the curb with the attempted thief nowhere in sight, keeping with him her keys.

Within minutes, Officers McBrayer, Lowell, and Haugh arrived on scene and found Peterson upset and very shook up. The three officers comforted her while getting the information they needed to find the would-be carjacker. Without her keys, Peterson was unable to driver herself home so Officer Lowell took her to her house to get her spare set of keys. The officer took their service a step further to follow her to the park and advised her that if she received a phone call from someone regarding her car keys, because her phone number was attached to her key ring, to call the police immediately. This advice was especially important because it later helped her catch the criminals and ensured her safety. As they finally parted ways, one of the officers advised her that after he has been involved in a stressful situation he found that chocolate always helped lower his adrenalin and anxiety.

Later that same evening, Peterson received a phone call telling her that if she wanted her keys back to meet them in the basement parking lot at Target in Uptown. Remembering what the officers told her earlier that day she called the police. Officers Dwight Porlas Jr. and David Munoz met her at the parking lot and hid. The individuals pulled up and a female walked over and tossed the key ring, with the car key missing, inside her car. Officer Munoz jumped on the woman and handcuffed her while Officer Porlas followed the man in the car, eventually catching him also. Later the couple admitted they had planned to follow Peterson home and take her car from her house.

These five officers showed team work to get the car keys back to the rightful owner as well as providing comfort and protection to a distressed citizen. For their dedication and compassion is what has earned these officers the title as this week’s City of Albuquerque Friday’s Heroes.