Thieves use mesa as a dumping site for stolen cars

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some tow truck companies across the area are noticing a trend when they’re called out to retrieve abandoned vehicles. They’re either torched or stripped for parts, or both.

It’s also no secret that Albuquerque has one of the worst car theft problems in the country, and according to police, a lot of those vehicles end up in an empty mesa.

It’s almost every post on Facebook; someone in Albuquerque asking others to keep an eye out for their stolen car. The page, Albuquerque Stolen Vehicle Watch, is now filling up with photos of cars found, but not how owners would want them back.

“A lot of them are stripped and burned. They’ll take the parts they need then burn the car to cover their tracks,” Mike Rouckus said.

Rouckus is the owner of MCM Towing & Recovery.

“As a towing company it seems about 80 percent of what we pull in here are stolen recovered cars,” Rouckus said.

The Albuquerque Police Department said it’s aware of how bad the problem is; but little it can do.

“We’re getting offenders that are getting more brazen and just dropping cars off in the middle of the streets in residential areas,” Officer Fred Duran said.

And if it’s not in the middle of the street, police are finding the crooks like to dump them in any empty mesa.

“We had one just the other day, a brand new 2016 Chevy Camaro that they tried to dive it into the Rio Puerco,” Rouckus said.

According to Rouckus, the crooks are also leaving the vehicles in places difficult to get to and police with little to go on.

“It’s possible these vehicles are being used in other crimes and that’s their way of disposing of the vehicle and disposing of the evidence,” Ofc. Duran said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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