ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For the last three years Albuquerque police have been using a tool to help them quickly find stolen vehicles and yesterday it even helped crack a possible kidnapping case.
It’s no secret New Mexico has a big problem with thieves stealing cars.
The last few years different law enforcement agencies in New Mexico have been using a device called LoJack. Friday, KRQE News 13 got an inside look at how it works.
Matt Morales, who helps install the devices and train officers how to use it, said they’re becoming more common in newer vehicles. He said people can also pay to get them installed in their vehicles.
In 2014, the company partnered with different New Mexico car dealerships to get these devices installed for free. Morales said the idea is to help deter one of the highest auto theft rates in the United States.
Morales said LoJack also partnered with different law enforcement agencies and installed the other half of the device that helps officers track a vehicle once its stolen.
According to Officer Fred Duran, most of the APD Chargers have them.
“The devices (in the stolen vehicle) are only activated once the car is reported stolen,” Morales said.
The LoJack device then tells officers how far and what direction a stolen vehicle is traveling.
A good example was Thursday when police said the LoJack system led officers to 38-year-old Joseph Secrest.
Accoridng to police Secrest was driving a stolen truck with a 16-year-old girl inside who claimed she was being kidnapped. When police caught up with him, he ran. The girl told police she was at a house party in Los Lunas when Secrest showed up. She claimed she asked him for ride back to Albuquerque but said Secrest refused to let her out.
Morales said it costs nearly $700 to install the system a car.
APD said this system helped recover just over $1.3 million in stolen vehicles last year.