Suspect in string of Missouri and Illinois car wash thefts arrested

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BETHALTO, Ill. – Police have captured a suspected car wash bandit who had been stealing from area car washes. He used a Budget rental truck in the crimes. Not long after our initial report on Tuesday night, the truck was spotted again. The truck has now been impounded by Bethalto law enforcement.

Authorities in Granite City spotted the truck the day after and pulled it over. Troy Webber, 43, was in the truck, police said.

Webber allegedly ripped off the pay stations at the Bethalto Car Wash around 3:30 a.m. Monday.

“He’s been hitting car washes now for a handful of months in the general St. Louis area,” said Brett Anderson, who owns the car wash. “He’s been using the same truck apparently. (The arrest) is a big relief for the car wash community as a whole.”

Car wash owners from mid-Missouri to Hannibal and Quincy to southern Illinois report 40 or more thefts in the past two months. Most cases feature a man in a Budget rental truck. Police report one in Fulton, Missouri, 12 days ago, and one on Watson Road in St. Louis County on Monday night.

The van was listed as stolen—registered in Oklahoma and rented in September, but never returned—according to authorities.

“We will be working with agencies as far west as Hannibal in determining if any of the evidence seized from that van is connected to any other bi-state car wash-type burglaries or thefts,” said Bethalto Police Chief Mike Dixon. “We’re talking hundreds of dollars in some of these thefts and over $1,000 in some of the thefts. For now, Mr. Webber’s in custody and hopefully we won’t have any more car wash burglaries in the region for a while.”

Along with evidence linking Webber to the Bethalto Car Wash theft, here was a handgun with the serial number removed in the truck, Dixon said.

Webber remained jailed Wednesday night on weapons and theft charges.

At the time of his arrest, he was also wanted for an attempted theft at another Bethalto car wash in February and for violating his probation on a conviction for making a terroristic threat in 2017 in Washington County, Missouri.

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