Jul. 29—There’s a new (off-duty) sheriff in town.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen physically fought and detained a suspected shoplifter on Friday evening while with his family at a sporting goods store on the West Side.
BCSO said on Twitter that Allen “found himself facing an unexpected situation” when he spotted three people stuffing merchandise into duffel bags “with the intent to steal” at Dick’s Sporting Goods near Cottonwood Mall.
“Two individuals wisely chose to abandon the items and leave the store,” BCSO said on Twitter.
Deputies said the third shoplifter hit the sheriff twice before being taken to the ground by Allen. The department shared a photo of Allen — clad in a white tee and basketball shorts — holding the man down.
A duffel bag can be seen in the photo, stuffed with sneakers, socks and other items.
The suspect, 23-year-old Antonio Oros-Serrano, is charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and shoplifting in the incident.
It’s unclear if Oros-Serrano knew who he was tussling with. He appears to have a sling on his arm in a booking photo from the Metropolitan Detention Center but no injuries were documented in court records.
Oros-Serrano, who is apparently living on the streets and has been using fentanyl and methamphetamine for years, according to court records, has been arrested more than a dozen times since 2018 on almost all drug-related charges. It is unclear if he has an attorney.
BCSO said on Twitter that the incident “serves as a powerful message to all of us — that we, as a community, must unite and take our county back from the rampant crime.”
In the next lines, the agency said, “We must stress that we do not recommend citizens intervene in such situations. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us. Instead, we urge you to call for law enforcement assistance if you witness any criminal activities.”
It appears that, when push came to shove, Allen did just that.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:
Deputies responded around 7:30 p.m. to the Dick’s Sporting Goods store near Cottonwood Mall after Allen requested help. Deputies found Allen and another off-duty deputy in a fight with Oros-Serrano on the floor of the store.
Deputies gave Allen handcuffs and he detained Oros-Serrano who was then taken to a waiting BCSO vehicle outside. Allen told deputies Oros-Serrano was shoving merchandise into a duffel bag.
Allen said he told Oros-Serrano to put the merchandise back and a verbal dispute broke out and turned physical before Oros-Serrano hit the off-duty sheriff twice.
“It should be known, Sheriff Allen was in plain clothes and did not present any law enforcement identification at this time,” according to the complaint.
Deputies said the merchandise Oros-Serrano was trying to steal added up to more than $550.
He was found to have two warrants for his arrest, one of which was from a February incident.
In that case, Albuquerque police were driving in an East Central neighborhood when they spotted Oros-Serrano with a blanket drooping over him. An officer stopped to “ensure he was not overdosing.”
Police said the officer searched him and found some methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a blue pill. Oros-Serrano identified the pills as fentanyl and told police, “He gets it from everywhere.”