A man seen riding a suspected-stolen four-wheeler was arrested last week after deputies found him hiding in a tree in Salomon Estates.
Valencia County Sheriff’s Detective Rene Rivera filed charges, including resisting or obstructing a police officer and receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, against a 22-year-old Casa Colorada man. Rivera said he saw the man driving one of four four-wheelers that had been stolen from a Los Chavez business in April.
Rivera said he was on routine patrol when he noticed a man driving a green Kawasaki 4-wheeler southbound on NM 304.
“I noticed the ATV had damage to the rear rack,” Rivera said. “The damage was similar to damage found on two other four-wheelers that had been stolen from the John Deere (Equipment Dealer) in Los Chavez.”
When Rivera spotted the four-wheeler, he turned around and began following the driver. The detective attempted to make contact with the driver by engaging his emergency lights on his undercover unit, but the driver fled the area and refused to stop, Rivera said.
As Rivera pursued the four-wheeler along a trail near the highway, the man continued to elude the detective.
“I rolled down my window, and I recognized the subject from a prior arrest,” Rivera said. “I told him to stop, and he refused.”
The man drove the all-terrain vehicle to the east side of the highway where Rivera thought he had him trapped between his unit and a fence.
“I boxed him in between my unit and a fence when he rammed my unit,” Rivera said. “After he side-swiped me, he crossed in front of me and took off.”
Rivera, who was not hurt in the collision, continued to chase the man over railroad tracks and back to Salomon Estates. After the detective lost sight of him, several other deputies joined the search.
“We located the ATV on the east end of Sunbird Loop,” Rivera said. “The suspect was later located hiding in the top of a tree in the same area.”
Rivera said his undercover unit was slightly damaged with a small dent and a few scratches. An accident report was also filed in regards to the collision, the detective said.
After the four-wheeler was confiscated, police confirmed that it was one of the four Kawasaki all-terrain vehicles stolen on April 2.
According to Rivera, employees at John Deere Equipment Dealer on NM 314 had discovered someone had created a five-foot-by-five-foot hole in a brick wall on the west side of the business’ property. Police found one of the four-wheelers stuck in a trench on the outside of the wall.
The trench had been built around the business for security reasons, Rivera said. Upon further investigation, Rivera said, he found several crowbars near the scene that he believes were used to make the large hole.
Rivera said he found three other four-wheelers, which were stored in crates outside of the business, missing. That same day, one of the stolen ATVs was recovered by Belen police from a vacant mobile home in Belen.
The sheriff’s detective says the case is still under investigation, with one more ATV still missing.
If anyone has information regarding this case, call Detective Rene Rivera at 866-2405.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.