Santa Fe police are looking for a male carjacker who left the vehicle’s owner with serious injuries.
The victim, a 69-year-old man, was since released from the hospital and is recovering, said Santa Fe Police Department Lt. Sean Strahon.
The carjacker is still at large, Strahon said Sunday.
The crime took place shortly after midnight Friday. Strahon said the man had just left his workplace on Lena Street and got into his Jaguar when a man in the back seat wrapped a belt around his neck.
The man broke free, pushed open the front door and fell to the pavement outside the car. The attacker then got out of the car and began beating the victim with the belt, hitting him in the head with the belt buckle.
The carjacker then jumped back into the vehicle and drove off.
Strahon said police got the call on the crime Friday at 12:18 a.m. Within minutes police officers in a squad car located the vehicle near downtown and “got into a pursuit with it,” Strahon said.
Police pursued the car down Agua Fría Street and then turned onto Arroyo de Las Cruces Road, where the vehicle crashed into a dirt berm. The carjacker left the vehicle and fled down into the Santa Fe River basin, where he disappeared.
Strahon said investigators are reviewing evidence in the car that may help identify the man.
Though a 2017 FBI crime statistics spreadsheet reports 214 auto vehicle thefts in Santa Fe that year, Strahon said it’s unusual to see carjackings, especially violent ones.
“This is a rare one,” he said. “You see this happening all the time in Albuquerque, but I can’t recall it happening in Santa Fe in recent times.”
He said it’s important for motorists walking to their cars at night to always be aware of their surroundings, park vehicles in a well-lighted area and “look inside your vehicle to make sure there is nothing in there that should not be in there before you get in.”
Strahon said anyone who may have information on the case should call the dispatch center at 505-428-3710.