ST. LOUIS — Byers' Beat is a weekly column written by the I-Team's Christine Byers, who has covered public safety in St. Louis for 15 years. It is intended to offer context and analysis to the week's biggest crime stories and public safety issues.
Police are now saying the woman who told them she was held up at gunpoint while stuck in traffic during a Cardinals game was making it up.
Capt. Joe Morici said investigators reviewed surveillance footage and other evidence from the scene at 4th and Walnut during Saturday night’s game to determine the incident did not unfold the way the woman reported it.
Police say the woman falsely reported the incident “in an effort to conceal the fact that an unknown person had fled the scene of a motor vehicle accident in the alleged victim’s car.”
In other words, police believe she was trying to cover for someone who got into a car accident while driving her car that probably shouldn’t have been driving.
Now, police say she may end up being arrested and prosecuted for making a false police report.
But there were other crimes that happened during game time that were not made up.
About 30 cars at several parking lots downtown were broken into during the games.
Police sources told me the thieves smashed out windows and grabbed everything they could from inside the cars – sometimes coming up empty-handed but leaving car owners with busted windows that will cost hundreds to repair.
City leaders have recently tried to pass a bill through the Board of Aldermen that would have increased the amount of security features downtown parking lots are required to have. It included fencing, gates, lighting and additional security.
That effort failed.
A spokesman for the Cardinals told me the team supported the bill – with some caveats.
In a statement, he wrote: “The notion that the Cardinals opposed attempts to make city parking lots more secure is inaccurate. The Cardinals were supportive of the proposed Board Bill 80 with the inclusion of an alternate requirement of 24/7 security monitoring, which we provide for our surface parking lot and believe is the most effective way to prevent criminal conduct in parking areas in the city.”
The Cardinals only control the lot known as the Starr lot. It’s right in the middle of Ballpark Village. And there were no reported car break-ins there.
The team expects discussions about parking safety to continue at City Hall.
And, it’s eager to see those discussions extend beyond outdoor parking lots.
“We also believe that the increased parking security requirements of proposed BB 80 should be extended to apply to parking garages as well,” according to the statement.
Police have not yet made any arrests connected to the break-ins, but police sources familiar with the investigation tell me they’re getting close.
And that’s the truth.