The St. Peters Police Department is currently investigating reports of seven stolen vehicles from various neighborhoods around the city during a three-hour window in the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 2. All the vehicles were left unattended, running and unlocked prior to being stolen. The vehicles, which vary in model and year number, were all stolen between approximately 5-8:20 a.m.
Vehicles were stolen from:
- 600 block of Summer Winds Lane – 2018 Kia Sol
- 700 block of Angie Drive – 2013 Mazda 3
- 1000 block of Briley Street – 2019 Chevy Malibu (recovered in St. Peters)
- 1400 block of Garden Valley Drive – 2018 Toyota Camry
- 1000 block of Treeshade Drive – 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe (recovered in St. Louis City)
- 2000 block of Willowshade Court – 2003 Volvo S60 (recovered in St. Louis City)
- 1st block of Aspen Ridge Court – 2018 Mercedes CLA 250 (recovered in St. Louis City)
The St. Peters Criminal Investigation Division and patrol officers are currently following up with each case in attempts to locating the remaining vehicles, as well as suspects and any further evidence.
According to a post the St. Peters Police Department made to Facebook following the thefts, police departments throughout the region have been experiencing a rash of car thefts for months, and many agencies are taking to social media and media outlets to remind individuals not to leave running vehicles unattended. According to Officer Melissa Doss with the St. Peters Police Department, almost 100% of the time the vehicles were running and/or the key fob was left inside the unlocked vehicle.
Individuals are encouraged to never leave their vehicles completely unattended with the engine running.
The St. Charles Police Department recently released a winter safety video on Jan. 4 with information about leaving a car idle. The video states that car thieves specifically target vehicles that are running, unlocked and unattended first and foremost when it comes to theft because entry isn’t forced and takes very little time.
“It does not take long – literally seconds,” Lt. Thomas Wilkinson said in the video.
Other popular targets for car thieves are convenience stores or gas stations where individuals sometimes leave vehicles unlocked with the keys inside while filing up with gas or running inside.
Cars can still be stolen or driven away even if an individual still has the key fob for their keyless engine in their pocket.
“These are nothing more than crimes of opportunity, and car thieves know this,” Wilkinson said.
Following the break-in spree, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar released a message on Feb. 2 stating that individuals who are caught stealing a car or breaking into one in St. Charles County will face mandatory jail time. Higher bonds will also be sought against offending individuals in the hopes of deterring future offenses.