String Of Burglaries Hit Downtown Wentzville

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WENTZVILLE, MO (KPLR) - A serial burglar is on the loose in Wentzville.  Several downtown businesses have been targeted this month alone; the latest business, Napa Auto Parts, was burglarized early Monday morning.  

Wheel Sports Bike Shop on South Church Street became a victim two weeks ago.  Bike shop owner Steve Padilla gestures to the window where he believes the burglar broke in, and recalls, “We found that if you shake this window, it comes loose like that, and they just slid everything open.”

The open latch took Padilla by surprise, but it didn’t take him long to realize what happened: “I kind of did a quick inventory in my head, thinking nothing’s wrong, walked towards my register, and that was on the ground.”

Wentzville Police say there have been four similar burglaries reported within the past month.  In each of them, only cash was taken, and each business was burglarized during early morning hours.  

Wentzville Police Spokesman Paul West says, “It’s really uncommon to have this kind of situation, and this is in fact what we would call a serial burglar: someone who has developed a methodology and continues to exercise that until he finally gets caught.”

Padilla says this burglar’s methodology is anything but amateur. According to the bike store owner, the burglar ensured the alarm system wouldn’t go off by unscrewing security lights and unplugging the phone line before breaking in.  With everything disconnected, the break-in simply showed up as a glitch to the alarm company.

Regarding the whole ordeal, Padilla says, “I felt violated, 100% violated.”

Now police are beefing up patrols and looking for leads.  West explains, “At this time we’re doing forensics, we’re looking for any similar crimes in other areas.”

In the meantime, Padilla is taking his security up a notch to make sure there won’t be a next time. He says, “We’re putting in our own camera system.  We’ll still keep the alarm company, but our cameras will be set up to go to our computer at home and our computer here, to where, all I have to do is push a button if something’s going on.”

Wentzville’s Downtown Business Association is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in these burglaries. Wentzville Police can be reached at 636-327-5105.