Rise in vehicle break-ins reported in Greene County

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 8:07 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - There’s an alarming trend happening in Greene County.

Crime data analysts at the Greene County Sheriff’s Office say there’s been a significant increase in the amount of vehicle break-ins reported this month. They say these aren’t just your typical smash and grabs.

“People are just getting bolder,” said Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Paige Rippee.

She says there’s been a sharp rise in crime throughout the west side of the county, just outside of Springfield.

We’re noticing a trend within the last 10 days to 2 weeks. More people are reporting suspicious vehicles in their neighborhoods or their vehicles being ransacked or gone through, windows being broken out and items being taken,” she said.

Rippee says it appears as if thieves are moving from one subdivision to the next. Recently, they targeted the Bent Tree neighborhood.

Michael Stepanov says his dash camera caught the thief in the act early Tuesday morning.

“He opened my truck. I don’t know how. My paperwork was here. My truck was filled with drills and wrenches. I listened to him go through my stuff like that,” he said.

Stepanov says only money he uses for the toll roads in Oklahoma was stolen.

“I lock it. Every time I check twice because my truck is very expensive. I have a lot of tools,” he said.

His wife Liudmyla Stepanov says she’s surprised her quiet neighborhood was a target.

“I never thought that some people would steal,” she said.

The Stepanovs installed security cameras the next day.

“Maybe they want more. Now we have cameras. Cameras may be helpful,” says Liudmyla Stepanov.

Rippee said, “Any type of outdoor surveillance, ring, motion detection doorbells have helped us solve many crimes over the past 5 to 10 years.”

Authorities are urging you to take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim, including removing all valuables and locking your vehicle.

“It may not be of value to you but it may be of value to someone else and they’re going to steal it,” said Rippee.

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