Mike Wilbur

MAN STEALS/TOTALS NM FIRE SUV THEN MOONS THE COPS!

That’s one stolen vehicle for Albuquerque firefighters, one giant moon for Albuquerque police.

Police say a man dropped his drawers beside a stolen fire department vehicle after leading officers on a wild chase across town through a brick wall, fire hydrant and into oncoming traffic Thursday morning.

Police spokesman Simon Drobik said 35-year-old Anthony Pacheco stole an Albuquerque Fire Rescue sport utility vehicle from a station off East Central. From there he led police on a brazen chase — striking police and civilian vehicles — leading to a dead-end street near Gibson and Girard.

Drobik said Pacheco, clad in an AFR jacket, jumped on the SUV and flipped officers off before he jumped down and “mooned them.”

Pacheco was arrested without “further incident.”

Nobody was injured in the incident, but vehicles were damaged, including the stolen Chevrolet Tahoe that was totaled. Pacheco is charged with assault with intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.

AFR spokesman Tom Ruiz couldn’t give an exact time when the vehicle was stolen from a garage of the firehouse near Central and Pennsylvania NE. But he said it happened in the middle of the night as the firefighters slept.

“Someone went out to the apparatus bay and the truck was gone,” Ruiz said. “A vehicle that’s used to keep the citizens of Albuquerque safe and respond to emergency calls is now out of service.”

Ruiz said AFR is doing an internal investigation to find out how Pacheco got into the firehouse and stole the SUV. Pacheco told police he found the keys inside and took it so he could “try and find his friend.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, the vehicle was reported stolen around 3 a.m. and police found it near Alameda and San Pedro NE. They tried to use a spike belt to stop the SUV, but Pacheco went off the road, almost hitting an officer and striking his police vehicle.

Police say they pursued Pacheco to a dead-end where he drove through a cinder block wall and escaped. Officers caught up with him at a Costco near Central and Eubank SE, and Pacheco fled again.

According to the complaint Pacheco drove at high speeds, ran red lights and crashed into a vehicle and fire hydrant. Eventually he came to a dead-end near Wellesley and Crest SE, where he surrendered.

Brian Kaz

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