Kirkwood police arrest teen for multiple summer car thefts

KIRKWOOD, Mo. - Kirkwood police have made a dent in the summer car theft epidemic that's been plaguing all of St. Louis County.

Officers arrested 17-year-old Zuri Jones in a Kirkwood neighborhood while responding to suspicious person call just before 5 a.m. on August 23. Police said he was apparently scouting new targets.

Jones was charged with four counts of felony stealing and one count of burglary.

According to police, all of the crimes happened overnight, beginning July 24 with a 2018 BMW stolen from a garage. Two days later, Jones allegedly stole a 2017 Honda Civic, from a driveway. The next day, July 27, a Ford F-450 truck was stolen while parked in front of a home. And on July 31, a Ford Escape disappeared from a driveway.

The Escape was later found in Jones’ driveway a few days later, according to a court document.

“Steering columns aren’t torn out. There’s not hot wiring. There’s not broken glass. These are all unlocked vehicles with the keys left in them,” said Kirkwood Police Officer Gary Baldridge.

Kirkwood police have been posting clever reminders each night on the department's Facebook page for residents to get into a routine of making sure their cars are locked every night at 9 p.m. The posts are helping.

“The feedback’s been phenomenal and we’ve seen a decline. It’s not over, by any means … it’s been a horrendous summer, very epidemic. My guys on patrol are just getting inundated,” Baldridge said.

Meanwhile, Jones remains jailed on a $75,000 cash-only bond.

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