Man casing unlocked cars in west county finds garage door opener, opens garage

DES PERES, MO - A man casing a west St. Louis County neighborhood not only entered unlocked cars, he also found a way into a family’s garage.

The man was looking for unlocked vehicles in the Diamond Ridge subdivision off Des Peres Road at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Police across the St. Louis have long warned drivers to keep vehicle doors locked, with belongings out of sight.

This latest case illustrates the potential dangers that come with leaving doors unlocked. A man found a garage door opener and used it, Des Peres Dept. of Public Safety Trent Koppel said.

“You access someone’s home you don’t know what that person’s intent is. It becomes an automatic felony,” she said. “You catch somebody in your home. You’re not quite sure what their purpose is there.”

Fortunately, the man left when the alarm sounded.

Surveillance video from the neighborhood shows the man looking into cars on the street. His identity is concealed by his clothing.

Det. Koppel said a big question is why the suspect was in the neighborhood in the first place

“A lot of the people that come out to neighborhoods trying to steal items from our residents have a drug problem. And they’re feeding that drug habit,” she said.

Des Peres’ Department of Public Safety wants residents to check security video, and check the video on the department’s Facebook page.  If you believe you have information on the case, please contact the department at 314-835-6200 (ext. 237).

She's hopeful someone knows something about the man.

“We are often successful. We do end up [catching the suspect], eventually. Sometimes it’s not right away but we try to stay on it.”