Thieves hit South County auto dealerships

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SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - Car thieves have been wreaking havoc at dealerships in South County, St. Louis County Police said Tuesday.

Thieves had smashed their way into 4 dealerships and stolen at least eight cars in 11 days.

The thieves have left behind a trail of clues that may get them caught.

Two cars had already been recovered and one suspect was locked up and charged with tampering after being caught with one of the cars in the city of St. Louis, police said.

“This is where they busted through here, smashed all that out,” said Tony Godfrey of Sinclair Buick GMC on Lindbergh.

Two suspected broke into the body shop just before 1:30 Saturday morning, he said.

“When they came in and smashed everything up, they searched for whatever keys they could find, whether it was a trade-in key, a wholesale key.  In this case they broke into the body shop so they were looking for customer keys,” he said.

Instead of looking for new cars, they took whatever they could get started:  a 1999 Cadillac in for repairs in this case.

Around the same time, thieves smashed a window at nearby Weiss Toyota on Tesson Ferry and stole a 2003 Buick Rendezvous which was destined for the wholesale market.

Thieves also hit the Suntrup used car lot on Lemay Ferry 8 days ago.  They stole this high-end 2007 Jeep Cherokee and a Lexus.

Police recovered the Jeep Cherokee in the City of St. Louis.

Thieves also hit the Enterprise sales lot on Lindbergh, police said.

An Enterprise spokeswoman would not confirm how many cars were stolen.

Again, 8 cars total were taken from the 4 dealerships, police said.

Thieves also stole 4 rims from a pickup truck at nearby Bommarito Chevy Friday night.

The thieves just don’t seem to understand that breaking into a car dealership leaves behind a trail of evidence:  fingerprints, surveillance video,  even DNA, that links them directly to the stolen cars and wheels.

They’re likely to get caught.

“It’s indiscriminate stealing. They take whatever they can get.  Why they do it?  Just for the fun of it, it seems like,” Godfrey said.

One thief, a multiple offender who was caught stealing wheels and released from jail before getting caught again, was just sentenced to 8 years in prison, he said.

Police have already recovered two of these stolen cars -- and one suspect is already locked up and charged.