ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Even police cruisers aren’t safe.
Albuquerque police are looking for a man who stole a patrol car Downtown a few hours into the new year.
It was found later the same day, with all its equipment, in the Foothills Area Command, said Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department.
Crime Stoppers distributed a flier with security camera photos on Tuesday asking for help identifying the suspect.
“On Tuesday, January 1, 2019, at approximately 3 a.m. an Albuquerque Police patrol car was taken from the prisoner transport center at Fourth Street and Roma Avenue,” the flier reads. “A male was seen on surveillance video breaking into the unit and taking it.”
The photos distributed by Crime Stoppers – which show the Dodge Charger parked curbside with its lights on – suggest the car was running.
Gallegos said this is common, especially in cold weather, so the heater and the computer can stay on.
“For example, officers may have to leave a location in a hurry to respond to a crime, and they don’t have the option of waiting for windows to defrost,” he wrote in an email.
He said the cars do have “mechanisms to keep them secure and not accessible by anyone but the officer to drive them.”
APD is now conducting an internal investigation to see whether the officer followed policies or if the mechanism failed in this case. Gallegos did not identify the officer.