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Tractor thief in low-speed chase evades Santa Fe police

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – A man who stole a tractor Tuesday night managed to evade Santa Fe police officers attempting to arrest him during a low-speed chase.

According to police reports, officers saw a man driving the tractor west on Rufina Street away from a construction site around 9 p.m. Believing the man stole the tractor, officers attempted to force the man driving the tractor to pull over.

One police report states the man did not pull over and continued driving “at a top speed of approximately 5 miles per hour.”

Two patrol cars moved in slowly behind the tractor, issuing orders over the patrol car’s public address system for the driver to stop. But the driver did not respond.

Eventually, the driver turned the tractor and drove over a barbed-wire fence and into a field off Calle Eugenio. Police discontinued the pursuit, fearful the man would use the bucket on the tractor to damage their patrol cars.

When the officers reached the tractor on foot, they found it abandoned with the engine still running.

Witnesses reported seeing a man fitting the description hop a fence near the San Isidro Apartments. Two officers searched around the apartment complex, finding only the blue-and-white striped shirt the suspect was wearing.

Obtaining consent from tenants, the officers then searched two of the apartment units where the suspect was rumored to have entered. He was not in either unit.

After searching the area, police were unable to find the suspect.

Officer Edward Smith took DNA swabs of the abandoned tractor and the shirt. The tractor was eventually towed.

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