SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

"It was a motorcycle that I had been riding to work for a couple of years and I came out to the parking lot after work and it was gone."

David Galloway faced a mix of emotions upon finding out thieves struck while he was hard at work.

"It's aggravating.  That's the only way I can explain it.  It's disgusting, it's aggravating.  A person works hard for what he's got," Galloway said.

But he's not alone. More than 1,100 others in the Springfield area were also victims of car theft in 2013.  Now, after years of planning, the Police Department is making a change.

"We decided to develop a vehicle theft unit.  It's taken a few years to get there because of a lack of resources but in January we were finally able to get a supervisor and three officers assigned as investigators for the vehicle theft unit," said Springfield Police Capt. David Millsap, Criminal Investigations Division commander.

It's already proving to be effective.

"Our number of cases that we were taking in and clearing has gone up about 4 percent so we are having an impact," said Millsap.

The unit also investigates crimes involving farm equipment, construction equipment, scooters, and other types of large machinery.

"Scooters, we get a lot of those stolen so we try to track those down when we can. We also get a lot of trailers stolen off construction sights," Millsap said.

Tracking down stolen vehicles and machines is only half of the goal.

"The overall goal is twofold. First we will work with the community to prevent these crimes. Then from the investigative side is to make sure we stay above the national average for property crime clearance rates and one of those areas is auto theft," said Millsap.

In 2014, Springfield police have investigated about 100 vehicle thefts in January, and 60 so far in February.