String of carwash thefts in Missouri and Illinois
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String of carwash thefts in Missouri and Illinois

ST. LOUIS — According to, carwash owners from mid-Missouri to Southern Illinois have reported over 40 thefts in the past two months, with most cases involving a man in a rental truck.

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This one suspect has burgled dozens of carwashes in that time, fooling witnesses but not surveillance cameras.

For instance, one camera caught him pulling up to Bethalto Car Wash in Bethalto, Illinois, in a Budget rental truck around 3:30 a.m. on April 18th.

“He’s in a moving style truck,” Brett Anderson, owner of the carwash said. “He popped his hood and backed up to the pay station and kind of blocked everybody from what he was doing.”

The burglar usually heads directly for the pay stations outside the automatic washes and stays on the property for 10 to 20 minutes, according to police and carwash owners.


However, the theft in Bethalto took longer.

“He got stuck on one of [the pay stations],” Anderson said. “He was there for an hour and 10 minutes. Unfortunately, we had about a dozen cars drive by the wash there. People saw it and didn’t think anything of it. Nobody called.”

Police reported one burglary case in Fulton, Missouri, on April 10th and another in St. Louis County on April 19th.

In both cases, the suspect was in a Budget rental truck and broke into the pay stations.

“There was a Budget rent-a-truck that pulled into our local carwash. He pulled right up to the automatic wash. He got out and opened the hood of the truck,” Lt. Bill Ladwig of the Fulton Police Department said. “He started working on the coin box. If someone would drive by he would turn back to face his truck like he was working on his truck.”


The suspect appears to strike most often once carwashes get busy after the weather clears from rain or snow.

Read the original article here.

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