Pair of thieves make off with MADD’s go-kart

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A tool used to teach New Mexico kids about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving is gone.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says someone swiped their go-kart and they have the video to prove it. Now, they just need to find who did it.

“Everybody’s been robbed from, everybody has had their house broken into and it’s not the things that are taken as much as it is the feeling that you’ve been violated,” says Mothers Against Drunk Driving State Executive Director Ben Lewinger.

When Lewinger got the call someone had stolen their specialized go-kart, he found it unusual but he wasn’t surprised. He says it’s a unique and complicated machine. That’s why he thinks whoever stole it, did their research.

“The car and the materials that they took, some different goggles and cones and the remote controls are
worth about $20,000,” explains Lewinger.

Simulated Impaired Driving Experience or SIDNE for short is a prevention tool meant to encourage young people to drive safely. MADD takes it to different schools and traffic safety schools to teach better driving habits and the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. The go-kart simulates impaired driving by delaying steering and brake reactions.

“You were using them for a good purpose, you were using them to help the community and this particular device, you were using it to prevent underage drinking and decrease DWI and now, we can’t use it for that anymore and that probably hurts the most,” Lewinger says.

Surveillance video shows two people pull up to MADD headquarters in northeast Albuquerque early Monday morning. They left without taking anything. Four hours later, the two return in a pick-up truck. At some point, they cut the bolts on the trailer where the go-kart was kept and then loaded up the 250-pound machine. They also took the tools instructors need to operate it.

“These individuals didn’t steal from MADD alone, they stole from the community, they stole from the youth that we work with,” says Lewinger.

MADD bought the go-kart with a grant through Bernalillo County and are not they only ones who use it. Representatives with the group say there are a number of facilitators who borrow SIDNE across the state.

It’s been parked on APD property for the last several years but MADD has a new space with a garage and planned on moving the cart in Monday.

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