ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County police are asking for the public’s help identifying the suspect who broke into at least one gas station in the south county area.
Police in the South County Precinct responded to Phillips 66 gas station on Nov. 16 at 2:15 a.m. to find a door shattered and items stolen from the business. A few days later and just 1.9 miles away from Phillips 66, officers in the Affton Southwest Precinct responded to BP at 8501 Morgan Ford Road around 2:40 a.m. and found their front door shattered; items had been stolen.
Police said in both crimes, the suspect acted alone, broke into the buildings in the same way, and stole cigarettes and money.
The owners of Phillips 66 gave FOX 2/KPLR surveillance video that shows a man trying to break into the gas station building but was unsuccessful, then the police arrive to the gas station, survey the area, and drive away. The suspect comes back and successfully breaks in.
When inside, the man steals cigarettes and money, the same items stolen from BP.
“Fortunately, what we’ve got—somewhat, I think—is pretty good video surveillance. Sure, it might be dark, however, you’ve got somebody and you’ve got a good still shot of his face that the public hopefully can identify, so we can bring justice to this business and figure out who is responsible,” said Sgt. Ben Granda, St. Louis County Police Department. “Can I say for sure it’s related? No, but it’s something our detectives are going to evaluate, the similarities are too much to ignore, you’ve got a business burglarized by a shattered front business door, the wee hours of the morning, overnight, so it’s enough coincidence.”
Granda said tobacco thefts don’t happen often in St. Louis County, but when there are reoccurring or similar crimes, they talk with other jurisdictions to see if they are noticing the same problems.
“Sometimes you might even get into a rabbit hole in some of these investigations where cigarettes here are relatively cheap compared to other places in the country, could they be moving these to a state like New York or somewhere else? It’s possible, it may not be likely, but it’s something our detectives will evaluate,” he said.
If you have any information or know who the suspect is, contact police or CrimeStoppers to stay anonymous.