BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Police are trying to identify a man and a woman who sped off from a Walmart after a scuffle with an officer led to a shirtless foot chase last week.
It happened last Friday at the Walmart along State Highway 314 on the north side of Belen. Belen Police body camera videos shows the suspect started the scuffle by shoving an officer who was trying to detain him.
The chase ended with the suspect’s girlfriend scooping the man up and nearly dragging the police officer away with the car as it sped off.
“Anytime that any individual is willing to batter and evade an officer is very concerning,” said Chief Victor Rodriguez, recalling the incident.
Around 6 p.m. last Friday, Chief Rodriguez says one of his officers responded to the Walmart for a shoplifting call. While the officer investigated the suspect’s tied to the initial callout, a different couple who was also accused of shoplifting exited the same Walmart.
The officer chased down the second couple in the store’s parking lot, reaching the car as the suspects sat down inside of a red Hyundai sedan, closing the doors.
“The individual tried to start the vehicle up,” said Chief Rodriguez, speaking of the male suspect.
As the officer got closer to the suspect trying to put him in cuffs, police body camera video shows the suspect shoved the officer and began to struggle with him.
“(The suspect) was able to free himself from the officer’s grasp, to the point where the officer kept his shirt,” Chief Rodriguez said.
As the now-shirtless suspect ran off, the officer tried to use a taser to stop him, but it didn’t work. Eventually, the female suspect got behind the wheel and drove to the male suspect, allowing him to jump in the car. As the car zoomed off, the office was nearly carried away with the car.
“The metropolitan area has seen a surge in crime, which therefore has transferred into our smaller communities,” said Chief Rodriguez.
Belen Police are now looking for help identifying the suspects and the car they were in, which had a stolen plate.
“We refuse to allow crime to take over our communities,” said Rodriguez.
The officer wasn’t injured in that scuffle. If you have any information on who the suspects are, call Belen Police at 505-966-2680.