Car Thefts Up 34% in St. Joseph

Car Thefts Up 34% in St. Joseph

A report by St. Joseph police shows car thefts are on the rise.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) You may want to think twice about leaving your car unlocked.

A report by St. Joseph police shows car thefts are on the rise.

The report shows motor vehicle thefts are up 34 percent compared to the same time last year.

Gilpin says many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity.

"Somebody will be walking down the street looking at a car, doors unlocked, keys in the ignition off they go and these crimes take seconds," he said.

"There have been more," said St. Joseph Police Department Sgt. Greg Gilpin. "We get them almost on a daily basis sometimes. We're looking around the 35 to 50 percent increase in the theft rate."

Gilpin says many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity.

"Somebody will be walking down the street looking at a car, doors unlocked, keys in the ignition off they go and these crimes take seconds," he said.

Lucas Zimmerman is a victim of a recent car break-in.

He says his car was parked in front of his home when someone came along and broke the handles on his door and stole his belongings.

"My truck was all rummaged through. Only thing that was missing was a weapon that I had had and then I had a military backpack in there from overseas and just some things from the trip and that was gone too," he said.

Zimmerman says he's not waiting around to be robbed again.

He's already put his home on the market.

He says he works too hard for what he has and he's not willing to have anything else stolen.

"Someone drives up and down the block, you don't think anything of it but whenever you're out in the country or outside city limits someone comes down your driveway you know you're gonna know something's up."

Nearly 200 cars have been stolen so far this year.

The police department is asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to call them immediately.
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