Talk about looking on the bright side.

Rio Rancho convenience store owner Ron Brown says the one good thing that’s come out of a shoplifting spree targeting his store and other businesses is that it shows how much people care.

But, the rest of the story is despicable.

The Latitudes president said a group of thieves, with a girl about 4 years old in tow, recently stole about 80 bottles of liquor and possibly more from his store at 2401 NM 528. He posted photos of the suspects from his surveillance camera footage on Facebook.

The post has received approximately 60,000 hits as of press time.

“It’s such a reassuring feeling to know so many (community members) are offering help,” he said. “The people in this town really care. That is so neat.”

A police report said at least one bottle of vodka was stolen from Latitudes Jan. 15, with the little girl by group’s side. The group then left in a white Buick LeSabre, New Mexico license plate 638 TGP.

That plate led officers to 429 General Stillweist St. NE in Albuquerque. Albuquerque police responded but could not locate the car, according to reports.

After Brown reviewed the surveillance footage, he said that one bottle turned into 23 that day. On further investigation, the thefts totaled about 80 bottles in multiple incidents. The thefts were in excess of $500. The heists could be part of a theft ring which sells the booze to others and possibly minors, he added.

From what he’s seen in the surveillance video, Brown said it appears they’re using the child to help with the thefts.

“The little girl is always with them,” he said. “She’s kind of looking out, too, scoping out the place.”

He said the thieves carry large overnight bags and purses into the store and leave in less than two minutes. In another incident, they left in a Saturn, with a missing front passenger window covered with plastic, New Mexico license plate 131 SDM.

Rio Rancho Police Officer Austin Hertz said he was unable to identify the suspects in the surveillance video.

Latitudes is offering a $250 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to contact Rio Rancho police.

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