Thieves target cars warming up outside of homes

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - As our cold snap continues, many St. Louisans were warming up their cars Friday morning. But leaving those cars running provided a perfect opportunity for car thieves.

Criminals stole at least five cars Friday morning, right outside the victims’ homes.

The first theft happened around 5am on the 8800-block of North Broadway in St. Louis city. The victim wasn’t paying attention when suddenly a woman hopped into his truck and drove away. He attempted to stop her, and the suspect crashed the truck.

Then, around 7:15am, another car was stolen from Alamo Avenue in Clayton, and 15 minutes later, from Jerome Avenue in Maplewood.

An hour later, thieves hit Richmond Heights. On Claytonia Terrace, they tried and failed to steal a remote start vehicle. But they did successfully steal a black Mazda SUV from Yale Avenue.

Now, police are urging drivers to brave the cold and warm your car up, while you’re in it. Richmond Heights Police Capt. Craig Mueller says, “What we all need to remember as citizens is that these cars are not being stolen to go to work in, they’re being stolen to commit other crimes, and that puts everybody out here in danger, including the police.”

Police are investigating if any of these thefts are related. The suspect in the St. Louis city theft is already in custody, charged with stealing a motor vehicle. There are no suspects so far in the Clayton, Richmond Heights and Maplewood cases.