New Mexico Police Corruption Series: APD Officer Matt Griffin aka The Ninja Bandit Part 1

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again – I HATE POLICE CORRUPTION.

While researching a couple of New Mexico cases, I discovered a significant amount of corruption and cover-ups in the Albuquerque New Mexico police department, beginning at least 30 years ago and may be currently going on as I write this. Many victims of homicide have never received justice because their killers were protected. In addition, several people turned up missing during this reign of crap and certain officers within the APD are either responsible OR knew who was and refused to do their jobs. The latter is partly true for the fact that some of these cops were into the drug trafficking business and protected the perpetrators.

Because of what I learned, I am currently writing a series of posts about corrupt cases that occurred in New Mexico. I started with Linda Daniels. There are so many victims who were betrayed by the people who were supposed to serve and protect them that it is just ridiculous.

While the majority of posts will be cases out of Albuquerque, I will have some from other areas of New Mexico.


I’m dividing this into three parts, or more if I have to, because there is TONS of info involving Albuquerque, New Mexico police officer Matt Griffin. Why this man ever became a cop is totally beyond me. I imagine it had a lot to do with power and control. If all cops were like him, nobody would trust the men in blue.

Serve and protect? Not this officer.

The earliest incident (that we are aware of) involving Matt Griffin was on Thanksgiving in 1984. At this time, Griffin was a New Mexico State Police officer. On this day, Febye Garcia and her family were sitting down eating their Thanksgiving dinner when Griffin attempted to force his way into their mobile home. When Garcia resisted, Griffin pulled out his can of mace, struck her on the nose with it, and then sprayed it directly into her eyes. The reason for forcing his way in is unclear as there is little information about this particular incident, but shortly after, Griffin resigned from the State Police and guess where he ended up? Yep, Albuquerque Police Department. 

Fast forward to October 31, 1986. Now a police officer with APD, Griffin knocked on Ralph Narducci’s apartment door in response to a loud noise report. When Narducci asked to see his identification, Griffin beat him on the head and face, sending Narducci to the hospital. Talk about a short fuse. Is that all it took to piss Griffin off? Narducci filed a lawsuit against the city that was settled for $35,000.

A few months later, on March 1, 1987, Griffin was moonlighting as night manager at Pinon Trails Apartments. I know, weird, right? On this night, he refused to cooperate with other APD officers executing a warrant for Sam Elliott. No, not the sexy, deep-voiced actor. This Sam Elliott was a suspect in the drug-related murder of Bobby Dytzel. Griffin refused to identify the apartment where Elliott was staying. Hmm, I smell a big, fat, disgusting rat! Drugs? Murder? Gee, ya think Griffin was in on that somehow? 😀 Elliott later pled guilty to murdering Dytzel and Griffin was suspended for one measly day without pay for his refusal to help his fellow officers and for failing to disclose his outside job. The snake.  

Eight months later, Griffin was fired by Police Chief Sam Baca for refusing to return a $75 witness fee for a case he NEVER testified in. 

This guy was a moron. 

And just when you think this guy couldn’t be any sleazier, he goes and does the following:

  • January 1, 1988: Griffin, disguised as a ninja (I know. I’m trying not to laugh, too), robbed New Mexico Federal Savings and Loan, and fled in a STOLEN Chevy Camaro with a National Guard license plate.
  • March 1988: The APD rehired Griffin after his attorney cut a deal with the city. Baca later stated that he didn’t want to rehire Griffin, and only did so on the advice of his legal adviser and the city legal department. Gee, what a smart move. Griffin was laughing all the way to the BANK. LOL!
  • June 28, 1988: Griffin, now called the “Ninja Bandit”, robbed another bank and again fled in a stolen Camaro. This one had Colorado tags. He really liked Camaros, didn’t he?
  • July 1988: Somehow, and I’m sure this will shock you, a 9mm Glock semiautomatic handgun disappeared from APD’s evidence room while Griffin was assigned to guard it.
  • September 1988: Griffin, needing to satisfy his bank addiction, robbed bank #3 and made his getaway in – yep, you guessed it – a stolen Camaro.
  • January 19, 1989: Ninja Bandit (LOL that cracks me up for some reason), I mean Griffin, robbed the First Interstate Bank and made his getaway in – yawn – a stolen Camaro.
If I owned a Camaro back then, I’d be hiding that sucker. I’m pretty sure I know HOW he got the Camaros but that’s coming up later.
To be continued….
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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger

  • Tom Wolfe

    Just so you know, he’s been transferred to North Carolina’s prison system under the interstate compact accords. This happened in October of 2015.

  • Myra Redman

    I believe that Albuquerque law enforcement had some involvement in the kidnapping and murder of James F Gossen in July 1988. He was taken from our home in stocking feet and when his body was found he had handcuffs on. For 27 years we have gotten no answers from NMSP and they have lost all the evidence. Please visit our Facebook to see more, thank you Facebook.com/JusticeForJamesGossen