Car theft unit nets 45 arrests in one week

5:55 PM, Jun 2, 2010   |    comments
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By Casey Nolen

KSDK -- St. Louis police made 45 arrests in just one week, the result of a new detail of officers trying to stop car break-ins and thefts.

Thieves are becoming more sophisticated and more organized when it comes to what police call 'car clouting,' according to authorities. To fight back, a special patrol of officers is working the central corridor of the city from downtown to the Central West End.

And the problem isn't just in the city. Early Wednesday morning, police in Maryland Heights chased four suspects in connection to a series of car break-ins - two were caught.

"It's much more organized than I think people realize," says Major Lawrence O'Toole, with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department of car thieves. "People say it's a crime of opportunity. We're seeing it's much more than that. These individuals, that's their occupation. They break in to cars. They steal cars. That's what they do."

One frustration O'Toole says police have in dealing with these crimes is they don't feel like the penalties for breaking in to cars are working as deterrents.


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