Police investigating tow truck theft in St. Clair MO

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ST. CLAIR, MO (KTVI) - A bright red tow truck belonging to a St. Clair, Missouri business was snatched from a secured lot.  The theft was caught on camera.

Jeff Vogelgesang prides himself on the dozens of motion-censored surveillance cameras, recording 24/7 at his towing businesses and storage facilities, not to mention his code-activated electric gates.

So he was shocked when police called him early Tuesday morning, saying his gate was lying in the road.

Surveillance footage showed what happened.

Gesturing to the broken gate, Vogelgesang says, “There is about that much gap underneath the gate, and then they came down here to where the truck was parked.”

They hopped into Vogelgesang’s wrecker.  Once the thieves got the engine started, they backed up the wrecker and used its solid steel wheel lift to plow right through the electric gate.

Most of the broken gate now sits in the parking lot. The rest of it was found 3 miles away, on Highway AB.

Right before the wrecker was stolen; there were two attempted auto thefts at Certified Collision Center, right down the road.  Those attempts were not caught on camera.

Company owner Tim Davis tells FOX 2 the thieves first tried to steal the company’s Dodge Ram, used for towing. Then, they tried a jeep: “A customer’s car, they went in through the back, destroyed the dash, tore out the steering column trying to start it.”

Both Davis and Vogelgesang believe the same men were responsible for both incidents.  St. Clair police are investigating.

If you see the stolen tow truck, with “Pro Towing” painted on the side, call St. Clair police.  Vogelgesang, who’s working to repair the gate and install higher quality cameras, says the truck could cost $90,000 to replace. He doesn’t want to do that.​