Warm-up thefts leading to more violent crimes


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A common type of crime this time of year is leading to far more serious crimes, including murder.

Shaylee Boling, 14, was killed in a violent crash last week that all started with a warm-up theft. Another dangerous situation for Albuquerque police also started Saturday with a warm-up theft.

Since Wednesday morning when Boling was killed, KRQE News 13 has learned that there have been 11 other warm-up thefts.

Crooks see and smell all that exhaust, and it’s their symbol to strike.

“It’s not specific to one area of town. It happens all over, from the Northwest Area Command to the Foothills,” explained Fred Duran, spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department.

“Jan. 1 through today, we’ve had 44 this year, and that number is pretty significant,” Duran noted.

Suspect Elexus Groves is accused of stealing a van left in a driveway to warm up, soon plowing into an innocent family and killing Shaylee Boling, a freshman at Sandia High School.

Of the 11 warm-up thefts that have been reported since her death, one includes a van stolen Friday morning near 98th Street and Sage Road. The van was later ditched. No one was harmed.

A Saturday morning scare for APD was also traced to a warm-up theft. The bullets flew from a speeding car on I-25, aimed at a pursuing police officer.

Suspect Johnny Kocsmar admitted to police it all started when he saw an opportunity at the Smith’s Friday night.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by KRQE News 13, “He observed the Ford vehicle with the keys in the ignition and the engine running. Johnny entered the vehicle to get warm and advised he fell asleep. He started to drive around when he saw a male subject waving at him.”

Later, the situation escalated when that suspect fired shots from the passenger side.

Anything that’s going to aid them in their criminal activity is what we’re trying to prevent,” Duran said.

He noted that a lot of criminals will case particular neighborhoods looking for unattended cars out on driveways with their engines running. Other times, it’s someone walking by who simply sees an opportunity.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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