Breaking News
More () »

'If people are afraid, they're not going to be coming': Alderwoman calls for action after string of car break-ins in Midtown

The break-ins happened at the Armory on Friday night and City Foundry on Saturday night.

ST. LOUIS — An alderwoman is calling for action, after car thieves targeted parking lots at two new hotspots in Midtown St. Louis. One of the break-ins ended with shots being fired at police.

The gunfire happened on Saturday night, Jan. 21, as police were investigating car break-ins outside the City Foundry. According to St. Louis police, about 10 cars were broken into that night. 

Those break-ins happened just 24-hours after several customers at the new Armory STL reported break-ins of their cars too.

Both City Foundry and Armory STL are new developments in the Midtown area. It's an area that's seen a lot of growth over the past several years. 

That's why Alderwoman Tina "Sweet-T" Pihl said she is speaking out to make the area safer, so people can keep enjoying these spots.

"We don't want to put citizens lives in peril and...you know...we need to do something, because this has been something that has been continuing and has expanded," she said.

17th Ward Alderwoman Pihl said her heart fell when she heard about the break-ins and shootings that happened over the weekend in the Midtown area.

"This is such a vibrant place and seeing that the crime has expanded to this area that has been so vibrant. I just was sad, and I was frightened. I was thinking about my constituents, and what can we do?" she said.

That concern is why Alderwoman Pihl is calling for a conference with all the stakeholders in the city from the mayor's office to the police department to businesses and citizens.

"If people are afraid, they're not going to be coming and so this has to take immediate action. We need to come together right now and start talking about this and discussing how we can solve this jointly. All hands need to be on deck, we can't just have a few, but we need all of us to come together," she said.

Jason Kennedy was one of the many enjoying Armory STL on Friday night when the crimes happened.

"I was very worried at first, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, wow, oh Lord. I'm not going to have a car when I walk out of here,'" he said.

While Kennedy was one of the lucky ones, the St. Louis-native said he's nervous these situations are following a trend he's seen his whole life.

"We'll get something really awesome, and it'll be great for maybe a year, hopefully a year and then the crime really does make it decline and make it less favorable for people to go," he said.

Kennedy is hopeful Pihl's meeting will spark change because, he said, everyone deserves to feel safe in their city.

"I do believe that is something important that our elected officials definitely should be looking into, and should not give up on," he said.

Kennedy said he's not nervous about going to these places because of crime and he hopes others aren't either.

"I don't want the crime to be something that completely deters people from St. Louis because St. Louis has a lot of really good history and culture here," he said.

Stuart Ray, a St. Louis University junior who lives across the street from City Foundry said he agrees that this incident won't stop him and his friends from enjoying the area.

"We always love when new things pop up. I actually don't think we find it to be too dangerous, though," he said.

According to Pihl, the City Foundry owner responded to her request, and he wants to work together with her and other city officials on this issue. 

5 On Your Side received an updated statement from City Foundry on Monday:

As city residents and business owners we were disheartened to hear about the rash of break ins and other incidents at entertainment venues across the city this past weekend including at City Foundry STL. The safety and security of our guests and tenants at City Foundry STL is our top priority. Since Saturday night, we have been in contact with city leaders, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and our security firm to evaluate our security protocols. Our goal from the start has been for City Foundry STL to be a gathering place for our community. While this was an isolated incident, we will continue to work with local police and our security firm to implement best security practices for our visitors and guests.

The Armory STL Team issued the following statement in response:

The safety of our customers is our primary focus. We’ve incorporated numerous safety measures including the installation of metal detectors at all entry points, 24/7 video monitoring of all parking lots, additional parking lot lighting and fencing, and armed police patrols in all parking lots. We are overwhelmed by the support and visitation since we opened, and we are committed to keeping the Armory safe and inviting.

To watch 5 On Your Side broadcasts or reports 24/7, 5 On Your Side is always streaming on 5+. Download for free on Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

5 On Your Side news app

iPhone | Google Play

Before You Leave, Check This Out