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Police warn about new car-theft scheme that starts with fender bender

Police are alerting the community to make sure this doesn't become a trend. They say these are minor crash and non-violent thefts

ST. LOUIS — Florissant Police are warning drivers about an auto theft scheme that starts with a fender bender.

Police said there's been a few auto thefts that start out with a car bumping into the back of another vehicle. Per usual, both parties got out to inspect the damage. While that's going on, someone from the second vehicle hops out and steals the victim's vehicle.

"Well you have a million things going through your mind, it doesn't happen often," Officer Steven Michael said. 

Police said it can be an easy target because personal safety is the last thing someone is thinking about during these incidents. Police want to emphasize these are minor crashes and non-violent thefts. They are alerting the community to make sure this doesn't become a trend. It's happened at least twice recently.

Police recommend the following if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy during an accident:

• Stay in your car with the door locked

• Call 911

• If you can, take a picture or note the make, model and license plate number of the vehicle that hit you and the driver's description

• If the vehicle leaves the scene, note which direction it traveled

• Note anything unique about the vehicle, cracked windshield, missing hubcaps, bumper stickers or any other damage 

• Cracking a window should be sufficient to talk with the other driver at first until the police arrive

Officer Michael said these crashes happened on main roads but the parties pulled on to side streets to exchange information and assess the damage. It's safer to pull into a public parking lot or a well-lit area. 

"It's good to shut your vehicle off and take the keys with you, it's good practice," Officer Michael said.

In both incidents, no one was hurt during the crash or the theft.