Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

City sees rash of auto thefts

Law enforcement asks residents to lock vehicles, be vigilant.

 

October 4, 2017



A rash of vehicle thefts has prompted law enforcement officials to urge residents to be vigilant, pro-active by locking their vehicles.

In the past month there have been as many as five vehicles that have been stolen in the city limits, said David Lathrom, Tucumcari Chief of Police.

Lathrom said the trend with these recent vehicles thefts is the vehicle is driven for awhile (joy ride), then dumped and sometime damaged. He said most of the vehicles have been recovered the following day, only a couple are still being searched for by police. Most of the vehicle thefts are occurring at night, Lathrom added.

Lathrom said in many instances people are leaving their keys in the ignition of their vehicle. He said by leaving the keys in the vehicle residents are giving the criminal increased means to commit a crime.

“For the public’s safety, residents should not leave their keys in the vehicle even if it is only for a short while,” Lathrom said.

Lathrom said in some of the cases the vehicle did not have to be broken into, the doors were unlocked, the keys in the vehicle and it was taken.

“It is still theft of a vehicle, but by leaving the keys in the vehicle, it is giving criminals added incentives to steal,” Lathrom said.

“It burns me, in this instance literally that someone stole my vehicle then set it one fire,” said Melissa Foster, Tucumcari resident.

Foster said someone stole the truck her brother was using, took it for a joy ride then poured gasoline on the seats and set it on fire. She said fortunately the vehicle was recovered, the damage not too extensive.

“They not only stole my vehicle, they used the gas that was in my gas can in the bed of the truck to set it on fire,” Foster said. “If this is being done by youth/teenagers then as parents we need to right the ship. If it is adults, they should be ashamed of themselves for committing such foolish acts.”

Foster said these thefts are an issue that has been on the rise in the past few months, her truck, the fourth in what seems like a spree of senseless crimes.

“It makes me mad that someone would steal my truck and damage it with no regard,” Foster said. “It’s an old truck, but it’s my truck, I worked to buy that truck.”

Lathrom said the best course of action would be for residents to remove the keys from the vehicle and lock their doors. He said this may seem like a hassle when they may only be going inside a house or business for a few moments, but it only takes a few moments for someone to decide to steal the vehicle.

The Tucumcari Police Department is asking the community to report any information they may have concerning the recent vehicle thefts.

Residents can call 575-461-2160.

 

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