EUREKA, Mo. – Car stealing suspects injured two officers while trying to make an escape this morning. Police are still looking for one of the suspects.
Jefferson County Deputies and Eureka Police were patrolling the Mirasol Manor neighborhood at around 5:00 am. They were looking for several suspects in a stolen vehicle who were stealing items from cars. One teen was taken into custody and they were searching for others.
Police identified the stolen Jefferson County vehicle, a black Honda Pilot, near the intersection of Highway 109 and 4th Street. The officer walked over to the suspect’s vehicle to make an arrest. He was knocked to the ground by the vehicle that then rammed into the side of another fully marked police vehicle driven by a school resource officer.
“While exiting the vehicle, we believe the suspects were alerted to his presence and took off at a high rate of speed, striking the officer and knocking him to the ground,” said Eureka Police Lt. Michael Werges. “These guys were motivated to get away from the scene.”
At one point, the driver of a Corvette tried to stop the Honda to help officers.
The Eureka officer struck by the suspect’s vehicle was taken to the hospital to be treated for a broken ankle. The school resource officer was also injured.
The suspect’s car was later found abandoned. There are now three teens and one adult in custody. One person remains at large.
Several Rockwood schools were on a “soft lockdown” Tuesday because of the police search for suspects involved in car thefts. They included Eureka High, Eureka Elementary, Eureka Early Childhood Center, Blevins Elementary, Geggie Elementary, and LaSalle Springs Middle.
Police said the schools were on the lockdown to keep them safe. They were concerned that a suspect would threaten a school.
Investigators believe that the suspects are involved in a local car theft ring. They have been working on the case for a while. They believe that these suspects are “professionals” and were willing to injure a police officer to get what they want.
“I think it’s not something that’s just focused here on Eureka. I think its a national problem. I think it’s also a regional problem for us,” said Werges.
Officers are asking people to lock their vehicles. Suspects are checking car doors to see if they can find a gun or something valuable inside. If they find your garage door opener then they have access to your home. If they find your keys in your vehicle then they will drive away in it.