Suspects caught following thefts from unlocked vehicles in Columbia

Suspects in a vehicle stolen from St. Louis ransacked at least eight unlocked vehicles in Columbia early Monday morning before being taken into custody later in East St. Louis, police said.

The thefts from vehicles took place shortly after 3 a.m. in the Briar Lake and Wernings subdivisions, Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul said. A home surveillance camera captured video of the suspect vehicle at that time. Stolen from the vehicles were loose change and other small unsecured items.

The stolen vehicle used in the Columbia thefts later attempted to break in or steal a car in Dupo. The suspects were gone prior to a Dupo officer’s arrival, although no thefts took place in that town.

Dupo Police Chief Kevin Smith said officers used a license plate recognition system to locate the suspect vehicle and passed that info along to Columbia police as part of the investigation. 

This vehicle was later pursued in St. Louis city and it eventually crashed in East St. Louis, after which police took suspects into custody. 

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