While overall property crime is on the decline city-wide, several recent break-ins have many asking what police are doing to track down stolen goods.
Two food trucks, Locoz Tacoz and FarmTruk were hit by thieves over the weekend. They stole the generator from inside FarmTruk and two propane tanks and a massive grill weighing over 100 pounds from Locoz Tacoz.
“This is family-owned, this is my only source of income. This is what I used to provide for my three children, my wife,” said Tyler Garcia, owner of Locoz Tacoz.
But these trucks aren’t the only targets of thieves across the city. From garage break-ins to stolen bikes to thousands of tools stolen from the Habit for Humanity trailer, thefts are not happening in just one neighborhood.
“It’s a constant problem to some degree or another,” explained St. Louis Police Capt. Steven Mueller.
Capt. Mueller represents the First District in South City. He said they are constantly monitoring crime trends and patterns.
Overall, property crime, which includes everything from home burglaries to shoplifting to car break-ins, are down compared to last year. So far this year there have been 13,954 property crimes.
The top five neighborhoods for property crime are Downtown, Central West End, Dutchtown, Downtown West, which includes the City Museum and Scottrade Center, and Tower Grove South.
In downtown they had 1,008 reports of property crime, 566 of those were from car break-ins.
“Crime trends come and go, what may be a hot spot today may not be next week,” said Capt. Mueller.
But he did say a constant problem is helping return stolen items that are found back to their owners.
“We may find it in a pawn shop, we may find it in an alley, we may find it in a car that we stop, but if there is no way of tying it back to an owner than it ends up going to auction somewhere,” he explained.
He said there is a free website for people to store information like serial numbers, photos and documents that will help if you do become a victim of theft.
It’s called Report It. It is a secure site, offered free by the state of Missouri. Capt. Mueller says they attempt to locate as many of the stolen goods as possible, but in the end they need residents to be vigilant against thieves.
“The number of break-ins is reflective of the ease of getting away with it, again the victim in order to keep from becoming a victim must do their own target hardening,” he said.
Always locking doors, keeping valuables out of site, and making a report if something is stolen is key.
“Even if you think you might not get your stolen stuff back, it helps us know where the criminals are and hopefully help prevent the next theft,” said Mueller.
Garcia doesn’t expect to get his stolen property back and he wasn’t planning on asking for help, but so many people have reached out asking to help that he has created a GoFundMe.
“I didn’t want to ask for help, but so many people were asking how to help us get back on our feet,” said Garcia.
In just a day, FarmTruk raised more than $4,000 to help them buy a new generator.
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