UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – Police are investigating car break-ins from different areas in St. Louis from Mercy South Hospital to a neighborhood near Hampton and Fyler and in Creve Coeur. 

The Albertin Auto Body Shop is seeing an increase in the number of customers looking to make repairs to their cars after a break-in. 

“The right rear window broken, the column taken apart and then they’re destroying the lock cylinder to get the vehicle started,” said Ryan Stout, an estimator for Albertin.

Stout said they are getting at least 10 calls per week from victims of a car break-in. He said they’re seeing so many calls, they have to limit the number of cars they can take in at the moment. 

“They’re calling typically, it’s in the morning. They’re calling us saying their vehicle has been broken into seeing if we have capacity for their cars,” said Stout. Right now, in the auto body industry, a lot of shops just have a lot of volume.”

Stout said he is waiting for parts to come in and it can take up to a week or longer, depending on the part. Police said using an anti-theft steering wheel lock can help prevent vehicles from being stolen. 

“The club is kind of what people are recommending people go back to. Which I know we haven’t used those in, you know, 20 years,” said Stout.

University City Police are giving away one steering wheel lock per household. Stout said if your car is stolen and recovered, the damage can be costly. 

“Normally, if they do get away with it, once it comes in here, you know they kind of just destroyed the vehicle for the vehicle owner,” said Stout. “We had one customer that actually when they did steal it, they did so much other damage it ended up totally their vehicle. And that was just a cost that she wasn’t expecting. Especially with the economy right now.”