Mario Maestas, 28, of Ojo Caliente, was arrested Jan. 23 for unlawful taking of motor vehicle, larceny and no driver’s license at Advanced Auto Parts on Crestview Dr.

Officers were dispatched to Advanced Auto Parts in reference to a stolen vehicle in progress call for service. While enroute, dispatch updated officers that the vehicle stolen was a white Chevy pickup with three tires in the back of the bed bearing New Mexico registration tag  AAYN84 and headed south on NM 528.
Officers saw the same vehicle stopped at the intersection of Hilltop and NM 528 facing south. Once the light turned green, the vehicle slowly began accelerating through the intersection, at which point the vehicle ran up onto the curb and then back into the street. A high-risk stop was initiated, at which point the vehicle came to a stop and the driver jumped to the passenger side of the truck. Officers gave verbal commands for the driver to step out of the vehicle, and he did. The driver was called back to a patrol vehicle and was taken into custody, and identified as Maestas.

While the vehicle was being cleared for any additional individuals, police found a dog, phone, driver’s license and credit card that belonged to the registered owner.
Maestas was read his Miranda Warning and agreed to talk with police. He said that he had just been released from Sandoval County Detention Center when he walked across NM 528 to Nusenda Credit Union on Enchanted Hills Blvd. He said that while at Nusenda Credit Union, he talked with a random guy he just met, and the guy stated that it was OK for him to borrow the truck for the evening, as long as he left his phone number. Maestas stated that he did not know the guy’s name and proceeded to drop the guy off at Target on NM 528.

The registered owner of the vehicle stated that Maestas approached him while he was at Nusenda Credit Union and asked him for a ride to a bus stop or railroad station in Albuquerque. He stated that he told Maestas that he could only give him a ride to Alameda, which he agreed to. He said that as they were driving south on NM 528, his truck began to give him problems so he pulled off to Advanced Auto Parts. He said that once they were pulled off and in the parking lot, he told Maestas that he needed to get a few items from inside, but he feared that if he turned off his vehicle, it wouldn’t turn back on, so he left it running with Maestas still inside. He said that while he was in the store, Maestas jumped into the driver’s seat and proceeded to take off with the vehicle and head south on NM 528.

Maestas will face up to 3 and 1/2 years in prison if he is convicted.