Car Thieves Working Overtime In St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Thieves in St. Louis have been working overtime breaking into cars.  Police say more than two dozen vehicles have been hit in 30 hours ending at 10 a.m. Wednesday.  Authorities are concerned the culprits are now armed.

The suspects have stolen golf clubs, G.P.S. navigation devices and even three guns from vehicles.  Lt. Paul Lauer with the St. Louis Police said, 'So now we`ve got criminals that are armed now while they`re committing these crimes' He said one of the guns was fully loaded and on display in the center console of the car, 'Scary for us we don`t want to encounter these criminals that are armed.'

Typically after car break-ins streets are littered with broken glass from smashed windows.  But in these recent cases there are few broken windows.  The thieves are using a tool to get under the door handle to easily gain entry.  Lt. Lauer said, 'There`s no noise to alert somebody that there`s a crime taking place outside their house.'  Greg Meyer`s car was broken into, fortunately the suspects got away with only a cheap pair of sunglasses.  Meyer said, 'If you leave things in your car and they`re in plain sight it`s going to be an invitation.'

Police think they know what`s behind all these crimes.  Lt. Lauer said, 'Normally seems to be some type of drug addiction.  They`re trying to get some quick and easy money to support their habit. Madden: Heroin?  Lauer: Mostly heroin nowadays yes.'

Dennis Economon`s mini-van was not targeted this time but it has been broken into four times before.  He`s learned his lesson.  He said, 'I don`t keep anything in the car any more.'

Police said they do have a person of interest in the overnight incidents.  They said it`s also possible there`s more than one person or group involved.

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