City responds to report of break-ins at city-owned garage

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City is responding to a series of car break-ins in a city-owned garage on 7th and Pine streets. Fox 2/KPLR 11 first reported on this story late Wednesday night.

Police said that thieves hit a little more than a dozen cars earlier this week.

Jared Boyd, chief of staff for the city’s treasurer’s office, said that car break-ins are occurring in some other city-owned garages, as well as inside of some privately-owned garages. The city said it takes the matter very seriously and is stepping up its security measures.

“We now have a dedicated security person for the garage where we saw our most recent break-ins, full-time evenings,” Boyd said. “We are hoping to change the procedures for whose allowed in the garage based upon the new equipment we have invested in even before the vandalism.”

Police said that between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Wednesday, 13 cars were hit, with damage to their windows at the city-owned garage.

“It’s still a big mess,” said Aaron Clite, who spoke with us on Wednesday and again on Thursday. “This was a situation that could have been avoided you know?”

“Now I’m left paying for it, along with multiple other people who live and work here, and it’s an unfortunate situation for all of us.”

Other monthly parkers said many times the garage door or the lift bars are wide open when they should be closed after a certain hour. Boyd confirmed that the city is aware.

“We will be changing the policy for Cardinals games and other events to make sure the gates come down at a more reasonable hour,” he said.

Shannon Villa said that thieves shattered the driver side window of his car about two weeks ago.

Villa pays to park in a privately-owned garage located on 9th and Olive streets. He said he filed a police report but hasn’t been able to get very far with getting answers.

FOX 2 reached out to the owners of the garage, but as of late Thursday evening, we did not receive a response.

“I haven’t heard from the detective assigned to my case,” Villa said. “So that’s where I feel like there is inaction by the police department on keeping downtown safe.”

Villa said that even though the garage is privately owned, he wants the city to do more with preventing these crimes from happening over and over again.

“It’s ridiculous that over a dozen vehicles are getting broken into at events,” he said. “So that obviously means these are more than one person who are comfortable enough to not just do a smash and grab.”

FOX 2 also asked Boyd if victims of the car break-ins that happened in city-owned garages will be compensated in any way.

“The agreement does not provide compensation for them but we are going to do everything in our power to ensure their car or anyone else who comes in our garage will be safer in the future,” Boy said.

He said that the city will also begin installing equipment to add more security cameras within the next 30 days.