Five in custody for St. Ann tool thefts

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ST. ANN, MO (KTVI) – St. Ann police arrested five suspects in connection with the thefts of a number of nail guns at the same big box store over a series of days. Detectives said the suspects were working alone and were not part of a theft ring.

“Amazing as it is, they don’t know each other,” St. Ann Police Lt. Dan Cowsert said.

Surveillance photos were released showing the alleged thieves in action. The weapons confiscated by police were wire cutters.

“They’re going in with wire cutters and cutting that cable then hiding the nail gun under their coat and then walking out the front door with it,” Cowsert said.

Two suspects, Nicholas Rhodes and David Emmons, were charged with misdemeanor stealing. The other three suspects, Justin Montgomery, Jose Orona, and Leona Wyatt, were each charged with felony stealing.

Police said they caught some suspects from the surveillance video, others were reselling the tools on Craigslist and still others went directly to potential customers.

“They are going to construction job sites at a much cheaper cost than what you would get in the store,” Cowsert said.

Police said a nail gun can cost close to $400 and they were being sold for as little as $100.

“They’re selling it for cash to then, in turn, buy drugs,” Cowsert said.

Detectives believed some of the suspects may have been ripping off at least two other area stores in west St. Louis County and St. Charles. They are working with police in those communities.