Suspected car thief crashes into rib joint during police chase

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A suspected armed car thief crashed into a north county rib eatery while attempting to flee from police, the St. Louis County Police Department said Wednesday.

According to Officer Benjamin Granda, a county police spokesman, the incident unfolded just before 1:50 p.m. in the 11000 block of Dunklin Drive.

Granda said the suspect approached a 47-year-old woman, displayed a large knife, and stole her vehicle – a Volkswagen passenger car.

Police located the stolen car near W. Florissant Avenue and Chambers Road and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, only for the suspect to speed away.

The suspect attempted a left-hand turn onto northbound Jennings Station Road, lost control of the vehicle, and slammed into Roper’s Ribs. Police took the driver, identified only as a juvenile, into custody.

The rib joint’s facade sustained some damage, as well as a gas leak. Local firefighters and utility crews quickly attended to the problem.

"All of a sudden we heard a loud explosion and also we felt the building shake, so it was quite an impact, and we rushed out to see what was going on and we saw our gas line had been hit," said Denise Roper, owner of the restaurant.

Roper said her employees had to evacuate the building while the gas leak was attended to, but added the gas service should be back on by Thursday.

No one was injured during the chase and subsequent crash, Granda said.