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APD Bait Car arrests lead to recovery of multiple stolen vehicles

The Albuquerque Police Department received a bait car activation leading to arrests and recovered vehicles.

Aug. 5, 2021

On the evening of August 4, 2021 APD’s Auto Theft Detectives received a bait car activation near I-25 and Avenida Cesar Chavez. Detectives then received another alert that the ignition had been started.

While monitoring the vehicle, Joseph Lovato, 39, was identified as the individual who stole the city owned bait vehicle.

Lovato drove the vehicle to a residence along Coors and parked. Another individual identified as Christine Lovato, 34, entered the vehicle, and Mr. Lovato got in the passenger seat. While outside the residence, detectives noticed a white F350 that had recently been reported stolen.

Christine and Joseph Lovato then drove the bait car to a local retailer along Coors and Christine entered the business. Joseph remained inside the bait car and at that point, detectives disabled the vehicle. As they began to make a high risk felony stop, Lovato jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to flee in the bait car. He tried multiple times to start the car and was not taking commands from officers.

Joseph Lovato then exited the vehicle and fled on foot. A short pursuit ensued before Lovato was taken into custody. Detectives then entered the business and placed Christine Lovato under arrest.

When detectives went back to the residence along Coors, they recovered four stolen vehicles on the property, an F350 truck, a 15ft. trailer and two motorcycles.

Joseph Lovato had two felony warrants and a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest and in addition to fleeing from officers, he initially concealed his identity.

Joseph Lovato was charged with Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle, Resisting/Evading an Officer and Concealing Identity. Christine Lovato was charged with Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle.

Video of the bait car theft can be found here on APD’s Facebook page.