Auto thefts in Hobbs have doubled since this time last year.
“In 2019, in February there was 10, in 2020, in February there was 20 of them. Year to date last year there was 23 at this time, in 2019 and in 2020 we’ve had 49 year to date,” said Hobbs Police Captain Shane Blevins, as of March 4.
According to Blevins, a well known (to police) car thief, Timothy Gore, is responsible for about 50 percent of stolen vehicles, and “that’s being conservative,” according to Blevins
“(Gore) has at least 12 to 15 pending cases, and most of them are stolen vehicles,” said Blevins. “He’s been our biggest culprit.”
Gore, was arrested again Monday and charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, for an incident that took place on Feb. 15.
Police responded to the 1200 block of S. Cochran when a car was reported stolen from outside the victim’s home.
The home security camera did not catch the theft taking place, and the vehicle owner said he was unable to find his car keys. Police officers were able to find a shoe print left behind in the vacinity of where the vehicle was taken.
It wasn’t until the afternoon officers located the vehicle. Officers were called to the 500 block W. Jernigan, where Gore had concealed himself behind the stolen vehicle. Gore fled when officers arrived, and they chased Gore on foot as he fled the area.
The vehicle keys were found near the vehicle where gore was hiding. After finding the vehicle officers noted it had sustained “heavy disabling damage”.
The police report stated Gore was wearing shoes consistent with the marks found at the scene where the vehicle was originally reported missing.
Hobbs Police Cheif John Ortolano says criminals are walking around looking for opportunity and finding an unlocked vehicle they can steal.
“The city of Hobbs is seeing a spike in auto thefts. This is mainly due to targets of opportunity being presented to criminals,” Ortolano said. “Specifically what the targets of opportunities are, are people are leaving cars unlocked, leaving their keys in the ignition or within close proximity in the ignition. In addition to that, a lot of these people are leaving items of high value in their unlocked vehicles, to include wallets and firearms, and other items of high value.”
Ortolano goes on to say that the Hobbs Police Department urges people not to leave their doors unlocked and to keep high-value items hidden or out of sight.
Blevins argreed and said having keys left in vehicles is one of the biggest reasons cars are stolen.
“95% of our stolen vehicles, I would like to say 100% but without actually physically being there at every single one of our scenes, are vehicles that are left running or the keys in the vehicle in some way,” said Blevins.
According to secure court access, Gore has nine open court cases involving multiple charges including resisting, evading, obstructing an officer, forgery, conspiracy to commit unlawful taking of motor vehicle, and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
As of Wednesday Gore is being held at the Lea County Detention Center.