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Police find possible links in SW Missouri car dealership break I - KOAM TV 7

Police find possible links in SW Missouri car dealership break ins

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Police piece together similarities between a recent rash of break ins in Southwest Missouri. All of the break ins include burglaries at car dealerships -- possibly over a wide geographical area. And even the Missouri Auto Dealers Association is sending out warnings reminding car dealerships to be on high alert for break ins.

Crimes associated to car dealerships usually include the theft of one of the many new and valuable vehicles on the lot, until recently. The General Manager at Roper Honda in Joplin says the theft at his lot involved breaking into the building through the auto shop and tearing off the two hundred and fifty pound door to their safe. 

 "We've never had this happen before," Rick Brown, Roper Honda's GM said.  Normally they go for the car, something like that, but to just pry open a safe door, we've never had that happen."

Roper Honda wasn't the only one. Police say they've found about eight similar car dealership break ins in a two hundred mile radius of Carthage and Joplin, and that they are even expanding that search to see if they're more.

"There could be burglary anywhere in the united states that might give us leads as well," said Josh Cahoon, Detective Lt of the Carthage Police Department. 

Between the break ins in Joplin, Carthage, Neosho, Sarcoxie and Republic, police say they are communicating between departments to get the facts straight and catch those responsible.

"Each agency usually has a few more detectives that are assigned and help out, every case is different, never know where the case is going to lead, but we are working together," Lt. Cahoon said.  

Until all of the questions as to why car dealerships and why safes are answered, Brown says Roper Honda has amped up their security and suggests other dealerships do the same.

"Anything you can do to step it up, do so." 

With security cameras at several of the sites Brown says he hopes its just a matter of time until those responsible are caught. Police in both Carthage and Joplin are keeping pretty tight lipped about the investigation, and will not release whether they have a specific suspect in mind. However they do say it is an ongoing investigation and they are continuing to track down leads

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