ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Council held a special hearing Tuesday night to discuss new legislation aimed at curbing car break-ins.
The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Tim Fitch, represents an area that includes southwest St. Louis County. He said his constituents have been demanding action after a series of break-ins involving mostly juveniles.
Police said often, firearms are taken from vehicles and used in other crimes like robberies and homicides.
The new legislation would make it a county ordinance violation to try to open a series of vehicle doors of successive vehicles. Right now, nothing can be done when suspects are caught before committing the actual break-in.
The second part of the legislation would make riding in a stolen car a county offense. Fitch said it’s already a violation of state law, but it’s a crime not often prosecuted.
The new change would allow the county to prosecute it as an ordinance violation and that’s punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
County police asked Fitch for this legislation, saying the number of break-ins in the county has doubled. Police said the suspects are often armed. They fear what could happen if a citizen interrupts a break-in.
Fitch said it’s a problem that’s been getting worse for some time now and citizens have been demanding action to try and curb it.