Updated: @ 5:20 p.m.
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Dozens of car break-ins in Forest Park marred what was, by all accounts, a fun closing night at LouFest Sunday.
Police say 29 cars parked in various locations throughout Forest Park Sunday evening had their windows smashed and wallets, book bags, electronics and other personal papers taken. Three additional vehicles were broken into at the park Saturday afternoon.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson is calling the incident frustrating, saying LouFest went off flawlessly.
He said, he doesn’t want to be critical of LouFest and its organizers, adding they did a great job. “But when people park literally blocks away from the event, how far does their circle go out?”
He said at the time of the break-ins most hired security officers were directing traffic out of the park, not patrolling.
In a statement the department said events like Rams and Cardinals gamed, Muny events, and Loufest hire off-duty police officers to assist with security of their event. Therefore having so much happening downtown Sunday didn’t pose scheduling issues at the police department.
Police have supplied a detailed list of where each vehicle was parked when it was broken into:
- 5 vehicles were parked at Grand at West Pine in between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- 1 vehicle was parked at the World Fair Pavilion between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. The vehicle’s window was broken but nothing was reported stolen.
- 18 vehicles were parked in the 5100 block of Clayton between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Electronics and a flat iron were among the items reported stolen.
- 5 vehicles were parked at Grand at Wells between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Only an iPod was reported stolen from one vehicle, with 3 vehicles reported nothing stolen.
Police are looking for a black Volkswagen Jetta seen in Forest Park during the time of the car break-ins. No one was in custody Monday. If you have any information call 866-371-TIPS.
Word of the crime spree came not from police officials but from upset fans who took to Twitter.
One attendee said he was leaving LouFest when he noticed “tons of break-ins, windows bashed out all over.”
That person said police were on the scene speaking with angry victims.
One attendee tweeted that about a dozen cars had been hit.
Another tweet mentioned that LouFest had been a great time until it became obvious that thieves “broke into all the cars.”
That attendee wondered “Where were the stepped-up police patrol?” in the wake of several previous vehicle break-ins during other events in the park.
Increased patrols were added near The Muny this summer after more than a dozen break-ins on separate occasions in late July.
A police spokesperson told KMOX News that they didn’t doubt the break-ins had occurred Sunday night but had no direct knowledge of it because officers at the scene are not required to contact the command post about such crimes.