ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Carjackings and break-ins are being carried out all over the area by criminals looking to plunder cars, trucks and even motorcycles.
In this sizzling summer grand theft auto appears to be the game of choice for crooks. They aren't hitting any one specific community, which has residents on edge because anyone could be a victim.
Police say thieves are carefully watching victims, sitting and waiting for the perfect chance to strike..
One south St. Louis man found out though just how determined thieves are to steal a car.
Jon Hartle’s red Dodge Challenger has too much damage to fix; damage caused by a car thief who took it over the weekend after breaking into Hartle’s south city house and taking the keys.
"There was a computer, there and money next to the keys, my iPhone 7 was laying next to the keys,” Hartle said, adding he had no doubt they were targeting the car since nothing else was taken.
Hartle says police confirmed as much, saying some thieves are trolling homes just to get their hands on car keys.
Real-time tracking technology revealed the thief went on a joyride into north St. Louis County before abandoning the Challenger in south city.
It’s a continuation of a summer rife with carjackings.
The most recent was Wednesday, when a woman was carjacked in a parking garage in the Central West End. But St. Louis city has stats that show more than 450 vehicle thefts in May and June this year.
Police do have weapons to combat stolen cars - such as remote license plate readers that can spot a hot car and bait cars set up to trick criminals into stealing them.
Unfortunately, the amount of thieves seems to be outpacing the number of traps.
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