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          Front Page




Crime Welcomes TV Crew

By T.J. Wilham
Copyright 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
    Welcome to Albuquerque, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
    We hope you liked the green chile and weren't too cold while you were here.
    And oh, yeah, sorry about the stolen truck.
    And the car that was broken into.
    The crew of the popular ABC television show got a taste of Albuquerque's property crime problem while filming in town in the past week.

[+] Click to enlarge
Marla Brose/Journal

The ABC-TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" shows the Martinez family their new home during filming on Jan. 22. From top, Gerald Martinez, his wife, Liesa, and their children, from left, Alie, Levi, Maggie-Jean and Bethany.

  • Photos of the Extreme Makeover in ABQ slideshow
  • "Extreme Makeover" Team Reveals Rebuilt Home to City Pastor and His Family story
  • Experiencing the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Process in ABQ story
  • See ABQ Home Makeover Jan. 18 blog
  • When is "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on? TV listings

  •     A show producer's car was broken into early during the weeklong stay, and a day after the filming was complete, another crew member's truck was stolen.
        "We have been all over the U.S.— even in Mexico— and this is the first time we have had a truck stolen," said Gene Alford, whose company has leased vehicles to the ABC production crew for five years. "Things happen. Albuquerque is cool. It's not going to hurt anyone's impression of the city."
        According to police, the truck was stolen overnight Tuesday from the Embassy Suites Hotel near Interstate 25 and Lomas.
        When the crew member went outside to leave Wednesday morning at 9, the white 2006 Ford F-550 was missing.
        Inside the truck were two large fuel tanks, hoses and a large toolbox filled with tools.
        The truck was used to haul actors' trailers, refuel generators and shuttle the on-air talent around town.
        "It's surprising, because it's a pretty unique truck," said Alford, who owns the vehicle and was driving a replacement truck to Albuquerque on Wednesday when contacted by the Journal. "The good news is no one got hurt."
        Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information about the case, and APD sent out a bulletin to all law enforcement officers in the metro area. Police also asked the media to broadcast information about the truck.
        "These guys travel all over the country, and we want their stay here to be pleasant," said Sgt. Lou Heckroth, APD's lead auto theft detective. "It's upsetting for us, because they come down here to help people and they become victims of a crime."
        Days before the truck was stolen, an ABC producer had his car broken into while parked in the same hotel parking lot, according to local contractors affiliated with the show.
        APD spokesman John Walsh couldn't confirm the break-in late Wednesday but did say there were two car break-ins in the hotel parking lot during the time the ABC crew was in town.
        The crew was in town to rebuild the home of Gerald Martinez, pastor of Joshua's Vineyard Church. Martinez's home is in the Trumbull neighborhood.