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Thieves ram cars through Academy Sports stores in Metro East, St. Peters

"It's always concerning for law enforcement when you have groups going out looking for firearms."

ST. PETERS, Mo. — Police are investigating after suspects drove vehicles through two Academy Sports locations in the St. Louis area early Wednesday and attempted to gain access to gun cases.

The St. Peters Police Department said a silver Hyundai rammed through the front door of the Academy Sports at 5214 I-70 North Outer Road at around 5:30 a.m. Suspects ran toward the gun case and tried to shoot through the glass but failed.

They then drove away in a red Volkswagen Jetta. Police don't have plate information on the vehicle.

Police said the Hyundai was stolen out of the City of St. Louis.

"It's always concerning for law enforcement when you have groups going out looking for firearms. That's definitely concerning," Officer. Melissa Doss with St. Peters Police said. "When you utilize a stolen vehicle it takes away from a lot of evidence we would normally have."

The department shared surveillance video on its Facebook page in hopes the public could identify the suspects.

Anyone with information on the identities of the suspects should call 636-278-2222 or 636-278-1000 to remain anonymous.

Also Wednesday, the O'Fallon Illinois Police Department said it responded at 4:22 a.m. to a burglar alarm at the Academy Sports at 1574 W Hwy 50 and found the store broken into.

According to a preliminary investigation, a stolen Kia Sportage was driven through the store's front door a few minutes prior. Video surveillance inside the store showed multiple people getting out of the car and going to the gun department. They tried to get into a gun case using brute force but were unsuccessful. They then ran from the scene, police said.

Officers searched the area but couldn't find the suspects. During the search, they learned a Kia Optima had been stolen from the 100 block of Dean Drive, which is two blocks away from Academy Sports. 

"It's very concerning because the people breaking into these stores have nefarious ideas in their mind, they are trying to steal guns. It's concerning from our level because if these officers try to encounter them, we know these young folks are armed already and trying to steal more guns."

Police believe the burglary and the stolen Optima are related. The vehicle, which is still missing, is a red and gray 2012 model with the Illinois registration Q598918.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Nick Schimdt of the O’Fallon Police Department at 618-624-4545.

The agencies are working together regarding the incidents.

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

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