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20-year fugitive caught when pulled over for tail light violation

by
Salvadore Villalobos
Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder (L) and Assistant Chief Tom Zenner (R)
Sergeant Rhae Stertz, Wisconsin State Patrol
Salvadore Villalobos

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - A joint effort between two police agencies cracking down on traffic violations also caught several people wanted by the courts.

The Friday night effort between Stevens Point Police and the Wisconsin State Patrol within the city limits utilized seven Stevens Point officers on overtime over and above normal patrols. They teamed up with four State Patrol troopers between 6:00 p.m. and Midnight. Assistant Police Chief Tom Zenner says they made a total of 81 contacts including 78 traffic stops for speeding and equipment violations. Zenner says some of these stops led to arrests. “We had six criminal arrests that were made, to include possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal obstructing charges, and seven warrant arrests. Four of those seven were felony warrants.”

One of the men arrested on a felony warrant was Salvadore Villalobos, who has been a fugitive on the run for twenty years. Villalobos was pulled over at Patch Street and Michigan Avenue for a tail light violation. When officers sensed he was not being truthful about his identity, he was taken to Wood County, where an Instant ID fingerprint reader was used to identify him. Villalobos was wanted in Dane County for 1st and 4th degree sexual assault and false imprisonment charges in 1993.

Police Chief Kevin Ruder is very pleased to get someone like Villalobos off the streets. “Whoever the victim was, knowing that someone is finally going to be brought to justice for an act that occurred that many years ago makes me very proud.”

Sergeant Rhae Stertz coordinated the State Patrol efforts, and noticed at one point, there were several squad car lights lit up at the same time on Division Street. The State Patrol’s drug detecting dog “Nora” was also busy Friday night.

Ruder expects there will be more enhanced patrols like this in the future, especially if he is successful in adding three officers to the force in the next budget.

The Friday night overtime for the Stevens Point officers was $1,900 dollars, and was covered by grant and forfeiture money. Zenner said that was, “money well spent.”

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