Video: Weapon concealment in wheel well of patrol vehicle
Earlier this week, I was advised of an incident in late April which merits our attention on PoliceOne. Attached to an email circulated by my good friend Jeff Chudwin — Chief of Police of the Olympia Fields (Ill.) Police Department — was a television news report from KOAT-TV in Albuquerque. The good news is that all ended well, with the officers involved returning safely home after their shift. The bad news is that it could have ended very differently.
In video captured by a parking lot surveillance camera, convicted felon Pete Martinez is stopped by a Rio Rancho police officer who had responded to a report that a pair of subjects — a male and a female — had allegedly attempted to steal a TV from a local Walmart store.
As the officer brings his patrol vehicle to a stop, the male subject performs his slick stunt — concealing a .25 caliber handgun atop the right front wheel of the LEOs SUV. He then places his hands atop the hood of the vehicle — inches away from the gun — and pretends to comply with the officer’s search for weapons.
Because of the suspect’s positioning in relation to the vehicle, the officer’s positioning as he existed the vehicle, and the speed of the concealment maneuver, that officer had virtually no way of ever seeing that gun. Fortunately, the store security guard who had been following the couple had a different vantage point, and did see the gun secreted in that wheel well.