ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) — Thieves are smashing car windows, grabbing items, and sometimes even stealing vehicles across the St. Louis area. The St. Louis County Council will meet Tuesday night to discuss three bills following an alarming spike in car break-ins.
“Can’t imagine anyone being against this because these crimes are occurring everywhere in the county,” County Council member Tim Fitch said.
Fitch and fellow Councilmember Mark Harder are introducing three bills that are going after thieves. The first bill targets people who go around pulling car door handles, a similar bill was just passed in St. Louis City last month.
Next, a bill that targets catalytic convertors. If that bill is passed, it would allow law enforcement to see exactly who’s bringing those converters to the shops and hold shop owners responsible for record keeping.
The third bill would make it illegal for someone to ride in a stolen car, but Fitch told News catching them at the start is where the focus should be.
“A lot of times if you ask these operators how these calls come in, ‘I just want to report I saw a group of four young men exit a car now they’re in driveways checking car doors.’ that’s how the calls come out,” Fitch described. “If the officer arrives quickly and they haven’t stolen anything up to right now, there’s no crime. They’re just thinking about it and trying it out. This ordinance will make this an ordinance violation.”
Tuesday morning, eight police departments in the St. Louis County area along with the St. Louis County and St. Charles County prosecutors outlined how they’re tackling the recent issues together. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said these people don’t migrate to just one area.
“The people that are committing these crimes are not adhering to borders and jurisdictions and so we have to address it in kind and so we have to show that we’re working together and that’s what we intend to do,” Bell said.
He added information sharing among the task force has led to about 10 arrests. If the three bills passed, the county hopes other counties will adopt the ordinances as well.