Vehicle break-ins, residential burglaries reported in Columbia


Columbia police are still seeking help from the public as they investigate a rash of burglaries to motor vehicles that occurred starting Christmas night and continuing through Monday.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, yet another residential burglary was reported in the 200 block of East Temple. An Illinois State Police crime scene unit assisted Columbia police with the investigation.

“The family was out of town over the Christmas holiday and we believe this was part of the burglaries from Dec. 25-28,” Columbia Deputy Police Chief Jerry Paul said.

Early Thursday morning, police received the first of more than 15 vehicle burglary reports that occurred Christmas evening into the early morning hours of Dec. 26.

“Numerous unlocked vehicles were entered with items taken in the Pioneer Ridge subdivision on Sunnyhill, Eastwood and Longview Streets, with one vehicle being forced open to take an item in plain view in a locked vehicle,” Paul said. ” A garage was left open in the 600 block of Rapp Street and items were removed along with unlocked vehicles entered with items removed in this area of the city also.  The two block stretch of Crestview had numerous vehicles entered with items taken.”

Then between late Friday night and early Saturday morning, six more vehicles were burglarized in the Cascade subdivision, as was a residence in town. The home of Columbia City Clerk Ron Colyer on North Evergreen Lane was burglarized while occupants were sleeping inside. Several large items, including a TV and Christmas gifts, were taken. The residential burglary occurred between 10 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, Paul said. Entry to the home was made through an unlocked door.

The targeted subdivisions are random and located in different parts of the city, Paul said.

“This type of crime is a great concern for the safety of our residents,” he said.

Anyone who may have observed suspicious activity related to these crimes is asked to call 281-5151.

“Please remember to keep your vehicles locked and valuable items stored in the locked trunk or in your home,” Paul said. “Please watch out for suspicious activity around vehicles. Call immediately so an officer can investigate and stop these crimes. We believe somebody has probably already seen a vehicle, person or something that can help us solve these crimes. ”

Police are already working on a handful of leads pertaining to this case.

Paul said investigators have been in contact with police in St. Louis County to examine a possible link with the Columbia crimes to similar break-ins reported across the river.

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