ST. LOUIS – FOX 2 has confirmed new information in a case of brazen car crime in the Central West End. Authorities are sharing startling neighborhood surveillance video and boosting a reward in the case.
The video shows gunmen with assault-style rifles ditching one stolen car and driving away in another, just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, on Walton near McPherson in the heart of the neighborhood.
That second stolen car has been recovered. The suspects may be stunned to hear who owns it.
The car left behind was stolen earlier from Ferguson, according to police. It was a black Hyundai Elantra.
The suspects left in a black Kia Optima that had just been stolen around the block. According to police, it’s a common tactic for thieves to abandon one stolen car and steal another very similar in color, make, and model.
“It tries to throw off law enforcement; keep us on our toes,” Ferguson Police Captain Harry Dilworth said. “At one point in time during our afternoon watch, we had four or five cars stolen in that manner: they would steal a vehicle in one location, drop that vehicle off, then steal another one.”
The Kia was found abandoned at Laclede and Taylor two days ago, less than a mile from where it was stolen.
The suspects had tossed a child car seat into the street.
Staff at the nearby VINO StL wine bar picked it up, hoping someone would come for it. The owner has since claimed it.
A records search confirms the owner of that seat and the stolen Kia is a former high-ranking local police officer who is grateful for the recovery of the car and car seat but otherwise declined comment.
The Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative has added $1,000 to a CrimeStoppers reward in the case, bringing the total to $3,000 for information leading to an arrest.
The weapons involved are a huge concern.
“It’s just reckless on (the suspect’s part) part and adds to their threat and danger to community,” Jim Whyte, the initiative’s executive director, said.
“Every encounter we deal with stolen autos we have to take into account that that person could be armed. Most of the time they are armed,” said Capt. Dilworth.
Police report no arrests. Call CrimeStoppers 866-371-TIPS with any information. All tips are anonymous, so you get the reward without giving your name.