Jefferson County Sheriff’s Dept. investigating Festus car thefts

FESTUS, Mo. – A car theft in a Festus neighborhood forced one resident to take matters into his own hands on social media.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said its seen a rise in car thefts in 2018. Stealing a car is a felony, so the sheriff’s department cautioned people to let the authorities handle the situation.

“It didn’t have the windows on it, so I don’t know if they climbed in and hotwired it that way because it didn’t have power locks or power windows at all. I didn’t have an alarm on it, it’s just a basic model Wrangler," said Alex Chotrow, the son of the vehicle owner.

Chotrow said sometime in the middle of the night Sunday, their Jeep Wrangler was stolen off the front lawn of their home on Ridge Avenue in Festus.

He said it’s a 2014 Willys edition in granite gray with all black wheels and it has a Missouri license plate on the back KL6D9K.

The owner said it also has a Batman sticker on the front windshield and Twin Cities Jeep Club stickers on both sides.

But this isn't even the first theft to happen on that street this month.

"Three cars down the street were broken into two of our cars were broken into and they stole the owner's manual out of one of them and got the keys for the gray one that was stolen,” Chotrow said.

One neighbor said his GPS was stolen and another person said their owner's manual and registration was stolen from their brand new car.

“It just went too far and we had to stop it," the man said.

He decided to take to Facebook, saying he had the suspects on camera and would meet up with them to exchange that video for all of his neighbors' belongings, including the Jeep.

“We organize up a takedown are staying well in advance the location is packed and there’s plenty of police officers there as a safety precaution read highly discourage anyone from doing that on their own," said Sgt. Matt Moore, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

The concerned citizen who didn't want to go on camera went to the meeting location he set but said no one ever showed up.

"I stay down there for about at least an hour and a half…and then nothing, so we’re gonna keep an eye out and see if the Jeep shows that and hopefully they’ll just go ahead and get rid of it so that hopefully they’ll get their Jeep back," he said.

Authorities said even if they don’t catch the suspects in the car, there may still be other ways to connect them to the crime. Most times in this situation under Missouri statutes, the thieves can be charged with tampering.