APD targets auto theft suspects with warrant backlog funds

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – APD officers recently arrested three of their top 25 most wanted auto theft suspects. Police said one suspect was in the middle of a drug deal when they took him in.

“All three of them were committing crimes when we arrested them again,” APD Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos said. “So, it proved to be, you know, we’re targeting the right people.”

APD Chief Harold Medina told KOB 4 auto theft has been a top issue for him for several years.

“Our auto theft numbers this year looked good,” he said. ”I think they were 16% down for the year.”

With access to millions of state dollars, now in the hands of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, Medina said he hopes to bring that number down even more, for other crimes as well.

In June, he told KOB 4 his department would use its cut of the $5 million to cover officers’ overtime, so they could tackle the 5,000 warrant backlog.

“We’re coming up with a list of individuals who we are targeting that we are kind of ready to prosecute, and the DA’s office approves of that list,” Gallegos explained.

From there, APD determines who will need to work overtime to go after those suspects and how much it will cost. The DA’s office signs off on that too.

“I don’t know how much is dedicated for that, but our hope was to have about $3 million for the course of the year,” Gallegos said. “Our hope is to use as much as possible because we have a lot of work to do, but it is overtime, and it just depends on how many officers we get to sign up for overtime.”

APD said the number of warrants is constantly changing because they make arrests, then immediately hand out new warrants. So, it’s a balancing act, and that is why reps said they will continue to prioritize and target criminals who are actively committing crimes in the metro.