Albuquerque police investigate string of robberies that targeted Asian-owned businesses after 2 women dead

Albuquerque spa killing
  • The Albuquerque Police Department found a woman dead inside Canna Spa near Coors and Los Volcanes NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after responding to a robbery call Tuesday night.
  • Authorities released still images of a potential suspect wearing a black cap and black shirt. He was last seen driving a black pickup truck.
  • The Tuesday incident was the second attack on an Asian-owned business in Albuquerque in less than a month. On Jan. 23, a 45-year-old woman was killed during a shoot-out with a group of robbers at Wonderful Massage in Menaul Blvd.
  • “It shouldn't be the same offenders, because we do have those other individuals in custody, but it's obvious – it's possible that people are preying upon a certain group," Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said.

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has now launched an investigation into two fatal robberies targeting Asian-owned businesses that have left two people dead in less than a month.

The APD found a woman dead inside the Canna Spa near Coors and Los Volcanes NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after responding to a robbery call at around 11 p.m., according to the Albuquerque Journal.

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Security footage from the massage parlor shows the woman lying “motionless” in the doorway as an armed man rummages through an office. APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos did not identify the victim but said she was of Chinese descent and was shot in the incident, reported the Journal.

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Authorities have released pictures of the potential suspect in the robbery. He was reportedly wearing a black shirt and a black cap and was last seen driving a black pickup truck.

The incident occurred just a little over three weeks after a 45-year-old woman, identified as Sihui Fang, the owner of Wonderful Massage in Menaul Blvd., Albuquerque, was found dead inside her business after a shoot-out with alleged robbers on Jan. 24, according to the Journal.

Two men have been arrested and charged for Fang’s death. One of them was reportedly injured from the shoot-out.

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According to KOAT7, the APD says they have noticed a dangerous “pattern” in violent crimes targeting Asian businesses.

“It shouldn’t be the same offenders, because we do have those other individuals in custody,” said Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina, according to KOB4 of the second fatal robbery case. “But it’s obvious – it’s possible that people are preying upon a certain group,”.

The Asian community in Albuquerque now fears for their safety. Kristelle Siarza, volunteer executive director for Asian Business Collaborative, is making calls for more preventative measures from law enforcement.

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“We’d like to see more proactive action,” Siarza told KOAT7. “We’d like to see more community members speaking up and letting us know, anonymously or not, whether or not they’ve been targeted or attacked.”

“These strings of little robberies are becoming such a big gateway for where we are now, we’re trying to ring the alarm to say, ‘Something is up and we don’t know what it is,’” Siarza said. “At this point in time, it’s a matter of safety and security for everybody, not just Asian-owned businesses, but also those that share a wall with them.”

Siarza also claimed that several Asian-owned business owners have come to Asian Business Collaborative to report other robbery incidents. They were purportedly dismayed after being told wallet or phone robberies were “too small a crime” to pursue, according to the Journal.

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Those who may have information about the attacks should contact Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP.

Featured Image KOB 4 (left), Albuquerque Police Department (right)

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