Three vehicles were stolen from a Litchfield auto dealership early Friday, July 17.
On July 17, at approximately 3:12 a.m., a Litchfield Police officer observed a vehicle traveling westbound on Illinois Route 16 near Corvette Drive, without activated headlights.
The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on this vehicle and the vehicle immediately fled southbound on Interstate 55. At this time, the officer also observed that three other vehicles, none of which had license plates, appeared to be traveling with the initial vehicle.
These vehicles were all at a great distance ahead of the patrol officer and at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour, the attempt to stop the fleeing vehicles was terminated.
Litchfield patrol officers began checking dealerships to determine if the vehicles had been stole. A Litchfield officer discovered broken glass at the Victory Lane Ford dealership and, after investigating the scene and making contact with the business owner, it was determined that four individuals had broken into the business and stolen three vehicles.
Two of these vehicles were driven through the front doors of the business and struck the building as they exited. The individuals were in the business for approximately three minutes.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted in securing the crime scene. Illinois State Police Forensic Services was contacted to process the crime scene and the Illinois Secretary of State Police was also contacted.
Investigators assigned to the Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force are assisting in this investigation due to the circumstances being similar to other thefts in the area.
A similar incident occurred at George Weber Chevrolet in Columbia early Saturday, July 18, with three suspects apprehended by Dupo and Columbia Police officers.
According to the Republic-Times of Waterloo, the attempted theft occurred at 4 a.m. when Columbia Police responded to a report of a white Audi Q5 SUV outside the dealership, with multiple individuals making entry after breaking the front glass door. A cleaning crew working inside the building called police.
Dupo Police apprehended one of three suspects who fled on foot shortly after the incident occurred. The other two suspects were taken into custody after Columbia Police received a call at 9:45 a.m. that two males were observed climbing a fence along I-255 near the Route 3 ramp to Columbia.
The two suspects in the SUV, which was determined to have been stolen from Ellisville, MO, escaped a police pursuit after crossing into Missouri. The SUV is believed to have been found abandoned in downtown St. Louis.
The Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force and Illinois State Police are investigating the incident with assistance from the Columbia Police.
It is not known at this time if the attempted theft in Columbia is related to the theft in Litchfield.