Rio Rancho speed enforcement vehicle catches fire

A speed van went up in flames near an elementary school in Rio Rancho last Wednesday. It appears someone torched it, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The speed vans in Rio Rancho are controversial, either you love them or you hate them. It appears someone who falls into the second category torched one of them.

“I hate them. I hate them,” said Renee Wilkins.

“I personally would like to see them go away,” said Chuck Wilkins, former Rio Rancho City Councilor.

For people in Rio Rancho, seeing speed vans around the city is normal, and it seems like many people can agree they are not a fan of them.

“Making it everywhere and everywhere you turn around you see them daily. I think it’s just gone too far,” said Chuck Wilkins.

Late Wednesday night, people living next to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, near Nicklaus and Southern, saw one of those speed vans clearly out of service.

“Last night, one of those vehicles that was on a neighborhood street in the city of Rio Rancho, did catch fire,” said Captain Ron Vigil.

While this is the first time a speed van has caught on fire, this isn’t the first time they have been a target of vandalism.

Last April, taggers spray painted phallic images and an anti-police message on one of the vehicles.

While it doesn’t happen often, Rio Rancho Police say it does put a damper on their job.

“It does diminish our ability to respond to citizen’s request. They call and express that they have individuals speeding down the street by their home,” said Captain Vigil.

Police say the fire destroyed the speed van, but they’re not calling it arson just yet.

Either way, a lot of people in Rio Rancho aren’t too upset about the loss.

“I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there that if they saw it, they were rooting for them,” said Renee Wilkins.

“I understand the frustration. I think a lot of people out there are going to look at it and say good job,” said Chuck Wilkins.

Rio Rancho Police are still investigating and they’re looking for tips. They do say it’s possible the speed van was a victim of an electrical fire.

Speeders beware, Rio Rancho still has seven speed vans to place around the city. They also want to replace the one that just burned.

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