Police see alarming number of garage break-ins in Metro East

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by John Knicely / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 5:08 PM

SHILOH, Ill. (KMOV) – Police say an alarming number of break-ins have hit multiple cities in the Metro East over the past couple weeks.

Shiloh resident Jim Karwoski said he’d left his garage open when he went inside his home. Minutes later, he heard a clanging noise.

“The second time I heard the clanging I came out and seen him,” Karwoski said of the burglar.  “He had his car backed right in here in the garage and I said, ‘Hey.’  When I said hey he just hopped in. He had the engine running. He took off, trunk was open and everything.”

Karwoski’s brand new edger, blower and other equipment were gone.

He called police after chasing the suspect, who was driving an old, white sedan with Missouri license plates.

Police later spotted the car on Route 111, but it got away.

The incident is one of many garage break-ins reported in the past couple weeks in Shiloh, O’Fallon and Swansea.

“This looks like driving around and checking the area,” said Shiloh Assistant Police Chief Gary McGill.  “We haven’t had that in a long time.”

A News 4 crew drove around Metro-East neighborhoods on Tuesday and found many open garage doors with no one outside.  Police say closing the garage door is the first step to keeping the family safe.  They said the second step is to call police if anything suspicious is seen.

“If they see anything suspicious give us a call and we’ll check it out,” McGill said.  “It’s also a good idea to develop a rapport with your neighbors so they know what cars to expect at your house. Then if they see something out of place, they’ll know to call us also.”

Police aren’t sure if any of the cases are related, but they anticipate they might be based on similar circumstances.  Right now Shiloh police are hoping forensic evidence leads them to a suspect.

As for Karwoski, he says he has learned his $1,000 lesson and now closes his garage door.

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