A 41-year-old Imperial man was shot at three times when he confronted a man who allegedly was rummaging through a vehicle parked in the driveway of his home in the 5200 block of Summer Circle. The incident happened at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 18, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported.
It was just one of numerous vehicle break-ins that have occurred in the county over the past few months, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
“We believe this is a coordinated effort by a group or groups who are targeting areas like the subdivisions off of Seckman Road,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Grant Bissell said. “These guys are dangerous, and they mean business.”
In addition, areas along I-55, Hwy. 141 and Old Hwy. 141 have been targeted, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Imperial man, Terry Logan, was home with his girlfriend, 14-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son when he was alerted to the suspect’s presence in his driveway through an app connected to his surveillance camera. After receiving the alert, Logan went to his driveway armed with a handgun, the report said.
When Logan got outside, he noticed the passenger-side door open on his 2018 Ford Escape and the suspect partially inside the SUV. Logan pointed his gun at the suspect and yelled for him to stop, according to the report.
The man going through the SUV got out of the vehicle and ran behind a 2018 Ford F-150 that also was parked in the driveway at the home on Summer Circle. Logan continued to approach the suspect, who allegedly let out a “whoop” sound and fired three shots at Logan, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Authorities said they believe the whoop sound may have been a signal to others acting as lookouts or helping with the vehicle break-ins.
Logan, who reportedly did not shoot his gun, was not hit by a bullet. However, one bullet went through the rear window of the pickup then traveled through the rear passenger seat before striking the dashboard. Two other bullet holes were found below the back window, the report said.
The damage to the window was estimated at $800. An estimate for the other damage to the pickup was not available today (Oct. 21), Bissell said.
He said nothing was reported stolen from the victim’s vehicle.
After allegedly firing the three shots, the suspect ran from the home, and surveillance footage showed him getting into another SUV, which authorities believe was a Toyota RAV4 that had been reported stolen out of St. Louis, in the area where the shots were fired, the report said.
A second suspect was driving the RAV4, which had not been located, the report said.
Bissell said the suspect who allegedly fired the shots is described as a black male who was wearing a white-hooded jacket and gray sweat pants.
The Sheriff’s Office held a press conference this afternoon to talk about the incident and other recent car break-ins around the county.
“What has historically been teenagers and drug addicts stealing from unlocked vehicles has escalated to armed, coordinated and planned cooperatives that have countersurveillance and the willingness to shoot and attempt to kill homeowners simply wanting to protect their families and property,” Sheriff Dave Marshak said in a written statement.
Marshak said authorities believe two or three groups from outside Jefferson County are responsible for about 40 vehicle break-ins throughout the area since July 1.
Nearly all those vehicles were unlocked, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Marshak said the Sheriff’s Office is stepping up patrols in targeted areas around the county to try to combat the problem.
The Sheriff’s Office stresses the importance of not leaving valuables in vehicles and locking up vehicles. Also, the Sheriff’s Office recommends parking vehicles inside garages whenever possible.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 636-797-5000.