MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – Local police departments are investigating a string of car break-ins and warning residents this type of crime is on the rise.

“Even though we are confident these suspects are juvenile, these juveniles are armed and dangerous, and have no hesitation taking shots at residents,” Town and Country Police Chief James Cavins said.

The most recent break-ins happened over the weekend. Investigators believe the crimes may be connected

“We have seen such an upscale in carjackings, auto theft, car break-ins. And what we’re seeing more than ever, it is at pandemic levels,” said Det. Sergeant Richard White, Maryland Heights Police Department.

In one incident, the suspects fired a shot at a resident.

“He saw a young man carrying a gas can. He yells to the young man, ‘What are you doing with my gas can?’ He turned with a handgun, pointed it at him; the victims immediately took cover. And when he took cover, heard four to six shots. His wife had to also take cover fortunately, no one was injured,” White said.

Chief Cavins called it a domino effect.

“Fortunately for us, no one was assaulted or injured in any way. The worst that was taken cash unlocked vehicle,” he said. “We had four open garages that were entered, one unlocked vehicle that was entered. No one was hurt.”

Authorities said the same vehicle has also been identified in multiple other incidents throughout the area. Law enforcement is sending a dire warning to residents to help try and prevent these types of crimes from happening.

Police are encouraging anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.