5 arrested for 'hundreds, probably thousands' of car burglaries in Jefferson County

The group nearly ran over a Sheriff's Deputy while trying to flee from police.

Brian Kelly
November 13, 2019 - 12:52 pm
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IMPERIAL, Mo (KMOX) - Jefferson County authorities are hoping this morning's arrests of five men who were allegedly entering unlocked vehicles and open garages, stops the rash of such cases in recent months.

Sheriff's Office Spokesman Grant Bissell tells KMOX three of the five suspects were spotted on Old Antonia Road at about 4 a.m. As they fled, a deputy attempted to deploy spike strips, but the suspect vehicle swerved around them, almost hitting the officer.

The suspect's vehicle eventually did hit spike strips at 61/67 and Imperial Main. After their vehicle came to a stop behind a business, the three men ran. They were caught later, along with a fourth suspect in another vehicle. The fifth suspect was later found at a nearby home.

Charges against them are pending. 

Investigators are now trying to determine how many of the burglaries that have plagued the area since summer, the five are connected to. 

"We don't know for sure how many vehicles they've attempted to get into, it's easily, probably thousands," Bissell says of these and other potential suspects. "We know of dozens, probably approaching hundreds of vehicles they've actually gotten into." 

The thieves have apparently been targeting neighborhoods along I-55, especially along Seckman Road. Bissell says they are not breaking into vehicles. "They go up to car handles and they'll test it to see if it's unlocked. If it is unlocked, they're diving in and taking anything and everything they can, including the vehicle if you leave the keys in there.

"Please," Bissell pleads, "don't leave valuables in your car. Lock your vehicle when you go inside."  

Last week, Illinois authorities in Madison County and Alton arrested two adults and a juvenile suspected in 150 car burglaries in the Metro East.

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