The man dressed in black with a balaclava on his head trying to break into the car. He uses a screwdriver. Car thief, car theft concept

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Circuit Attorney Blamed for Release of Notorious Burglary Ring

May 17, 2018 - 8:19 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is already catching heat for her handling of the Greitens case. Now her office is accused of dropping the ball on a burglary ring that could put a damper on your visits downtown.

The crew, accused of breaking into a thousand parked cars, not just in St. Louis but other parts of the country, are now all back on the street. Bond for two of suspects was originally $150,000, but a judge cut that down to just $5000, which they paid to get out.

Downtown alderman Jack Coatar blames prosecutors for not explaining to the judge the extent of their alleged crimes.

“I don’t want them in this district, terrorizing people like they have these last few years,” he says.

Coatar says he saw a lot fewer car break-ins downtown after the three were arrested, but a week later, the suspects are now wearing GPS monitors with orders to steer clear of downtown.

“They would not have had that without the police and me showing up for court,” he says.

Asked for another example, Coatar recalled last week when he says a hearing in this case had to be delayed because prosecutors didn't give defense attorneys proper notice of the hearing.

Coatar says he'll continue to show up in court to watch this case. The suspects have a bond appearance hearing on May 24th.

One of downtown's biggest boosters, Missy Kelley, says she and the rest of Downtown STL Inc. were watching car break-ins spike while other crime was falling, and it was frustrating, until they caught those responsible.

“I was so happy for the police because they worked so hard, and they got them. This was a big bust, and I am so happy for them because they deserve that. They have a very thankless job at times,” she says.

She says car break-ins dropped to zero once they were caught for the first time in years -- but it sends the entirely wrong message now that they've been let out.


KMOX News reached out to the Circuit Attorney's office for reaction to Coatar's allegations, but we haven't received a response.