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Thieves steal from unlocked cars, and even steal car, in Ladue

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LADUE, MO (KTVI) An unlocked vehicle can be an invitation to thieves. In one instance, the actual car was stolen.

Ladue police report a car parked on Waverton Drive July 29 was stolen and later located in East St. Louis.

The case is under investigation. It is unclear how the car was able to start, because the owner had possession of the car keys when the vehicle was stolen. But police said one key detail stands out: the car doors were left unlocked.

“I can say this. We have not [recently] had any smashed windows out of cars, where they were broken into. All of our cars in the past several months have been unlocked cars,” Ladue Police Lt. Darin McClure said.

The police department reports more than a dozen recent cases involving cars rifled through for electronics, loose change, wallets, and mobile phones.

“They’re in and out in 15-20 seconds and they’re gone,” McClure said.

McClure said Brentwood, Town & Country, Clayton and other surrounding municipalities have reported similar cases of criminals stealing from unlocked vehicles.

He stressed that residents follow the same, simple precautions.

“Take your valuables out of your car. Lock your car. Take your keys in with you,” he said.

He also suggested residents turn on a porch or any exteriors lights. All of the cases happened in the overnight hours, he said.