Continued reports of stolen vehicles have prompted local law enforcement officials to urge residents to lock their vehicles under all circumstances
"We are asking that residents be vigil during the evening hours and please remove your keys from your vehicles at night," said Jason Braziel, Tucumcari police chief.
Braziel said there have been 10 reports of stolen vehicles since June inside the city limits, with one resulting in a high-speed pursuit and crash.
According to Braziel:
• On Aug. 6, a 1990s model Chevy Corvette was reported stolen from the owner's driveway. The vehicle was spotted by Cpl. Dennis Garcia, but the chase got onto Interstate 40 with speeds in excess of 125 miles per hour.
"The pursuit was called off in the interest of public safety," Braziel said.
• Garcia spotted the vehicle once again on I-40 and another pursuit was initiated. The driver tried to exit I-40 and was traveling to fast resulting in a crash.
• The driver fled the scene of the crash and could not be located. He said a passenger in the vehicle. was questioned and released.
In nearly every car theft, Braziel said, keys were left inside vehicles and cars were not hot-wired.
Most of the cars stolen, Braziel said, have been recovered and were processed for clues. He said it appears a group of individuals is working together to steal the vehicles, take them joyriding and then abandoning them.
Quay County Undersheriff Larry Cooksey said the thefts aren't just happening in Tucumcari, and that residents should always take their keys out of their vehicles.
On Aug. 16, he said, a Vaughn resident left their car running while they briefly ran into their house, and found it was driven off. The vehicle was found just outside of McAlister. Additionally, he said, another vehicle was stolen around the same time, and later recovered in Kansas.