Cars stolen once, then stolen a second time during repair in South City


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a break-in and robbery early Saturday morning at Columbia Auto Repair on Southwest Avenue.

The thieves stole two cars, a Kia and a Hyundai, both of which had previously been stolen and were in the process of having the damage caused by the earlier thefts repaired.

Joe Barbaglia is the owner of Columbia Auto Repair.

“The biggest frustration is the customer because you have to tell them their car has been stolen again,” he said.

The thieves used a landscaping block to smash an office window. Once inside, they can be seen on surveillance video picking up plastic pouches containing each customer’s car keys and repair ticket.

Barbaglia said the thieves left the keys to the Kia and Hyundai and apparently hot-plugged them using the simple method that led to a wave of Kia and Hyundai thefts.

Caleb Wilson owns one of the stolen cars.

“I bought a club for my shuttlecock, I haven’t even had a chance to use it yet,” he said.

Wilson’s burgundy Hyundai Sonata was first flown the first week of August. He said he parked it on the street near Victoria Avenue and Graham Street and when he got out to go to work it was gone.

He said he was able to get his car back through social media posts. And that the car had been in the workshop for a few weeks waiting for the parts to arrive. He hopes to get it back, again.

“I have insurance, so it’s really a blessing at the moment. But I would also say that I was lucky once, who knows, maybe I will be lucky again,” said Wilson said.

Barbaglia said police told him five people were involved in the robberies and two were later arrested driving a stolen car. He said the suspects were 13 and 15 years old.

After the burglary, Barbaglia said he planned to upgrade his security system.


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