Man Caught Stealing From Parents at Local Daycare Centers
By Tasia Martinez
A career thief suspected of stealing purses from mothers while they dropped their children off to daycare is behind bars this week thanks to aggressive work of the Albuquerque Police Department’s Northwest Area Command. Herman Baca, 47, was arrested Wednesday after a traffic stop was conducted by a Field Services and DWI Officers. He was arrested on multiple charges including possession of a stolen firearm.
Late Thursday, Baca was in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. After his initial arrest Wednesday Baca was charged with his role in a string of car break-ins after Northwest Impact Detectives identified Baca as the suspect in at least five auto burglaries in the Albuquerque area in the past two weeks.
Detectives say what makes his crimes unique is Baca’s choice of victims. Detectives obtained surveillance video showing Baca lurking outside of local daycare centers and burglarizing the vehicles as parents drop off their children. Detectives say Baca was very brazen watching parents as they exited their vehicles and then driving up to their vehicles as they walk away and committing the thefts in a matter of seconds. He has stolen purses, wallets, cell phones, credit cards and checkbooks –items that detectives say, were left visible and easily accessible inside the vehicles.
Detectives received the first of these reports on Aug. 22 at the Precious Moments Day Care, 4011 Ladera Drive NW. As reports continued to come in, the NW Impact Team began conducting undercover surveillance operations, showing photo arrays to victims, reviewing surveillance footage and speaking with local community groups to identify Baca and locate his victims.
“It was through good investigation and partnership with community groups and vigilant citizens that we were able to identify and charge Baca,” Albuquerque Police Northwest Area Commander Joe Christman said.
This is not the first time Baca has been arrested for stealing. According to MDC records, he has been a career thief since 1995. His previous charges include burglary, robbery, kidnapping, fraudulent use of a credit card and possession of stolen property.
Now APD is asking anyone with additional information regarding crimes that Baca may have committed to contact police. Detectives believe that there may be more victims still unaccounted for. A photograph of Baca is attached. During his crimes, he was seen driving a tan-colored 1994 Oldsmobile with the license plate LZW023. If you think you may have been a victim, please contact the Northwest Impact Detective, Lee Acosta, at (505)768-4850.