ST. LOUIS—Police and business owners in the St. Louis area are investigating an increase in smash-and-grab robberies.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at least 14 such robberies have happened in the area since April 25.
Police said the thieves break into stores using various methods, quickly gather what they want and flee.
In about a half dozen of the cases in St. Louis County and St. Louis since last week, thieves drove vehicles into businesses to gain entrance.
St. Louis County Chief Tim Fitch says he has authorized more helicopter patrols. He says thieves know officers usually won’t chase them if they are in stolen cars, but it’s hard to outrun a helicopter.
And some business owners are installing heavy posts called bollards to prevent thieves from ramming their stores with vehicles.
The latest series of smash-and-grab robberies happened on Wednesday when police say three different businesses were hit within two hours of each other.
Police are still looking for suspects in all the incidents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.