Continuing a trend in recent months, Columbia police are investigating the theft of an unlocked car early Sunday morning and the unlawful entry of three other vehicles.
The car, a red 2014 Chevy Cruze, was stolen from the 100 block of East Voges Street. The keys were inside the vehicle, as well as a purse, when it was stolen.
The stolen vehicle was found unoccupied and wrecked in a ditch shortly after 6:15 a.m. on Veterans Parkway near Route 3.
Investigation turned up video that showed the stolen car collide with the rear end of a silver 2007 Nissan Murano with Missouri plates, after which two Black males got out of the crashed car and hopped in the Nissan as it continued north on Route 3 and then west on I-255 into Missouri.
License plate recognition cameras at the north end of Columbia recorded the Nissan entering town about 5:30 a.m.
Further investigation revealed that three unlocked vehicles were entered in the 200 block of Wenkel Street, but nothing of major value was reported missing.
Anyone who may have observed suspicious activity in the time and area of these incidents is asked to call Columbia police at 618-281-5151. Police also remind residents to keep their vehicle doors locked overnight.