Garage door openers tools for thieves in Des Peres break-ins - KMOV.com

Garage door openers tools for thieves in Des Peres break-ins

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Des Peres Police have investigated three robberies in the past two weeks with similar circumstances. Des Peres Police have investigated three robberies in the past two weeks with similar circumstances.
DES PERES, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Victims in a series of break-ins in Des Peres have unintentionally helping the burglars by leaving cars unlocked with garage-door openers inside, police say. Thieves have used the openers to get into homes and steal cash, credit cards and at least one car.

Des Peres Police said they have investigated at least three cases in the past two weeks where residents have left cars parked in their driveways unlocked. The part residents are finding even scarier, however, is that burglars are using the garage door openers in the cars to get inside of homes.

“It takes a lot of guts to do that break-in that takes a garage door opener, break into the house, take purses, whatever, then steal a car,” said Joe Crawford, who lives down the street from a home broken into recently.

Crawford has lived in the neighborhood off of Ballas Road for 50 years and said he has never seen anything like this in his neighborhood before.

“It appears to be a crime of opportunity at this point,” said Detective Marshall Broughton of Des Peres.

Once they used the garage door openers to get the garage open, Det. Broughton said, the thieves will get into the home through the door connecting the garage to an interior room, usually the kitchen.

“If the kitchen door is unlocked, they have gone into these homes and taken small electronics, purses, credit cards, and in one case we had a vehicle stolen,” Det. Broughton said.

Thieves appear to be targeting homes off of Ballas, so they are able to quickly get back on the highway and make their getaway. And police said the thieves have not been shy about using stolen items.

“Some of the credit cards taken were used shortly, within an hour or two down in north St. Louis County, St. Louis city. It appears to be small purchases, cigarettes, gasoline, things of that nature,” said Det. Broughton.

A security camera captured video of a person of interest in the case of an allegedly stolen credit card being used.

Anyone who recognizes the person of interest is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 314-725-TIPS (8477).

Des Peres Police said residents can protect themselves from similar crimes by locking garage doors and locking the door leading from the garage into the house.

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