Crime

Police officer’s rifle, bullet-proof vest, handguns recovered from stolen vehicle

Violent and property crime stats for Illinois

According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.
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According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.

Sauget police recovered an off-duty Washington Park police officer’s rifle, bullet-proof vest and several other handguns from a Dodge Charger that was stolen in Fairview Heights. No one has been charged.

“We recovered six weapons along with an off-duty Washington Park police officer’s rifle and bullet proof vest, Sauget Police Chief James Jones said.

Jones said it was a Sauget patrolman who observed a pickup at Country Rock Cabaret on Monsanto Avenue in Sauget. He knew it had been reported stolen and attempted to stop the driver, Jones said.

After a brief chase, in which the driver reached speeds of up to 110 mph before wrecking, police were able to capture the three suspects, who abandoned the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot over the Poplar Street Bridge, Jones said.

Sauget police officers terminated their pursuit because of the reckless driving of the driver in the stolen vehicle. The driver wrecked at the entrance ramp to Interstate 64 westbound to the Poplar Street Bridge, Jones said. The three occupants of the vehicle got out and started running on the Poplar Street Bridge.

“Our officers terminated the pursuit because of the driver’s reckless driving. A short time later the vehicle wrecked and three subjects got out and started running on the Poplar Street Bridge. Our officers located the three individuals and arrested them,” Jones said.

They were captured and held until Sunday night, pending charges. Two were released while police continue their investigation. A third suspect was held by police on an outstanding federal warrant. He is expected to be transferred to the St. Clair County Jail on Monday, Jones said. The suspects range in age from 27-30.

Meanwhile, Washington Park Police Chief Allen Bonds confirmed he was aware that the officer’s stolen property had been recovered. He was pleased to hear the news, saying he was happy that the weapons were not in the hands of criminals.

He said the vehicle had been reported stolen from Fairview Heights on Friday and he heard the information over an ISPERN broadcast.

“A couple of hours later the stolen vehicle pulled onto Scarlett’s Night Club parking lot on Bunkum Road.”

Bonds said one of his officers, who was off-duty, was going into the business where he works secondarily as a security guard, to clock in. “They busted the lock on his doors. He had a bag inside with his computer in it. He had a rifle, a shot gun and bullet proof vest in his car,” Bonds said.

The suspects had been checking car door locks on other vehicles on the lot. They then drove to the Hustler Club and were seen there checking locks on all kinds of vehicles, Bonds said.

“You can see them on video leaving the club. A guy got into an orange SRT Dodge Charger and the suspects followed him in the black vehicle that was stolen from Fairview Heights, Bonds said.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.


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