ST. LOUIS, MO. - Visiting City Museum was supposed to be a reward for completing their work in an exceptional manner, but for 11 students and one teacher from Eastern Kentucky University it turned out to be one of the worst days of their lives.
The group was part of a larger one from the university in town for the National Recreation and Park Convention last week.
They were here conducting a study of young professionals attending the convention, as part of their project for their major.
Having collected sufficient data to provide exceptional results, the 23 students and 2 teachers celebrated with a trip to City Museum.
One van parked in a gated lot across the street, the other parked in the main parking lot on City Museum property.
Posted along the streets are signs from police reminding people to store their valuables out of sight, and on the front door of City Museum are two more signs, both warning visitors not to leave valuables in their vehicle; they also offer a secure item/bag/coat check.
The warnings are up for good reason.
At 12:04 p.m., according to the timestamp on the surveillance video that covers the entirety of City Museum’s main parking lot, a dark colored car pulls over near the corner of 16th street and Delmar, right next to City Museum’s main parking lot.
The car’s doors open, two people get out, and one of them climbs over the fence separating them from the parking lot.
All of this hidden from parking attendants view by a RV parked next to the wall in the lot.
Three minutes later the man climbs back over the fence and gets into the car.
Three minutes after that, one of the men got out of the car, walked and talked to two others who had just walked out of the parking lot themselves.
They had been standing near an SUV parked in the main lot not long before interacting with what appears to be a family.
One of them picked up a little girl in a pink dress. That child and others of the group went inside City Museum, another in the group, closed the back hatch of the SUV, locked the vehicle with a key fob and walked with a person who appeared to be carrying a small child, out of the lot and around the corner where they were approached by one of the thieves.
They were followed to a dark colored SUV on Delmar parked two spaces in front of the thieves vehicle.
Eventually the thief walked back to his own car and the two people from the SUV in the lot got into the SUV on the street, and drove away.
Less than a minute after they left, the thieves were out of their car, and again one of them went over the wall.
The thief wearing what appears to be a blue shirt walked out from behind the RV to the students van parked in the corner of the lot.
A short time later you can see the car back up, and bags being thrown over the fence.
Meanwhile, two cars with a clear view of what was going on drove by.
The thief returned to the RV, hopped the fence and jumped in the car. But they weren’t done yet.
The thief in blue, went back over the wall again heading to the students van for more bags.
In all, the thieves spent nearly 17 minutes looting.
The City Museum says, this is the first time this has happened in their main parking lot in 4 years.
The students lost laptops, tablets, wallets, phones, and in one case a passport. The teacher lost his laptop that had his partially completed dissertation for his doctorate. They were shocked and angry about what occurred, but say they aren’t holding it against the city itself.
A GoFundMe page to support the students can be found here.