(KMOV.com) – Metro East officials are battling a group of thieves targeting cars in parking lots.
Police say the group is highly organized, and has been hitting cars in several Illinois cities from February through this week.
Thieves have hit cars in Alton, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, and Hartford and police say they are still trying to get concrete numbers on how many cars were hit.
The suspects vehicles have been spotted a few times, though the only detail that seems to be consistent is they all have heavily-tinted windows.
Police say the thieves watch the parking lots closely for a time, then pull up to their target vehicles and execute their theft in a matter of minutes.
Sometimes popping windows, sometimes picking locks, the thieves take laptops, purses, GPS devices, cell phones and whatever else is available. Generally there are at least two people in the car.
According to authorities, some of the stolen cards have been used in north St. Louis, and a cell phone taken in a theft was traced to the same area.
Police say the thefts come in waves, with weeks of downtime following a flurry of thefts in the area.