HERCULANEUM, Mo. —
We've all heard the stories about thieves taking full advantage of an unlocked car. Most of those cases involve young kids just trying to find a little money.
That's not the case for a group of thieves, targeting unlocked cars in Jefferson County.
Early Monday morning, between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m., a group of three or four thieves drove throughout neighborhoods in Herculaneum, pillaging every unlocked car they could find.
"Pocket change, to electronics to video games to knives," Herculaneum Police Chief Mark Tulgetske said.
All of the suspects are believed to be armed.
"Nobody should approach these people," Chief Tulgetske said.
One of the ten cars targeted Monday night involved an off-duty St. Louis County Police officer. The crew made off with that officer's bullet-proof vest and hunting gear.
Investigators now believe this could be the same group pillaging cars in Festus and Summerfield Parkside Estates neighborhood in Jefferson County.
In Summerfield Parkside Estates, the suspects actually opened fire when confronted by a homeowner.
Thankfully that homeowner wasn't injured.
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"If this was the same crew that was involved in Jefferson County, they are willing to fire shots," the chief said.
His best piece of advice to not become a victim?
"It’s a crime of opportunity, don’t provide the opportunity," Tulgetske said.
If you see these thieves in action, you are urged to immediately call 911 because they are considered armed and dangerous.