- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Albuquerque, New Mexico, news crew gained first-hand experience in covering local crime on Friday when the station’s SUV was stolen within sight of its reporters.

Journalists for KOB-TV were preparing to film a segment about the city’s unsafe streets on Friday when their vehicle was stolen from a downtown parking lot right before their eyes.

“Our entire news crew out here is a little shaken up,” KOB-TV reporter Kai Porter explained during Friday’s broadcast. “Our news car was stolen from this parking lot here at Central and 1st as we were getting set up for our live shot. Our crew’s okay, we called 9-1-1 and reported it to police. But it just goes to show you that really anybody can be impacted by crime down here in this area.”

The station managed to recover the SUV after about 30 minutes without police assistance by tracking an onboard GPS signal, KOB news director Michelle Donaldson told the Albuquerque Journal.

“I’m relieved that our people are OK and I’m relieved that we’ve recovered our property, but I’m very angry that somebody can walk up to a parked, locked, vehicle in front of you in this city and drive it away,” she said. “It’s a helpless feeling to know you cant do anything about it.”

“When it happens to you it’s personal, no question about it,” she added. “We spend our days telling other people’s stories, now it’s our story.”

The incident happened Friday as the station was readying a segment on a local tech business, Lavu, after it recently raised concerns with city and state officials concerning crime and safety in downtown Albuquerque.

“I cannot stress enough to both of you how serious the lack of safety in downtown Albuquerque has become for Lavu,” Chad Jehassi, the company’s president, wrote to Mayor Richard Berry and New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez.

“We were doing a story about those concerns, and the city’s response to those concerns when, ironically, we became victims of crime ourselves in exactly the area they’re talking about,” Ms. Donaldson told the Journal.

“I have a rule, that you can never be the lead of your own newscast,” she added. “So this violates that rule.”

It was not immediately clear if authorities had identified any suspects regarding Friday’s theft.

The Berry administration had a “positive and productive” meeting with Mr. Jehassi this week addressing his concerns, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told the Journal.

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