Suspected band of fast-moving thieves targeting auto dealers across the metro

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Thieves broke into two auto dealerships during the weekend, looking for keys to cars they can steal.

One dealer, Kansas Classics at 65th Street and State Avenue, is hoping surveillance images can help catch the crooks.

Auto dealers across the metro have been comparing notes and believe the same band of thieves have been targeting dealerships from Olathe to Lee's Summit during the last few weeks.

Surveillance cameras captured photos of the burglars breaking into Kansas Classics at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Police believe the same group hit Premier Honda, near the Legends, earlier the same night.

The suspects moved quickly, taking less than three minutes to search for keys to cars that they can drive off the lot.

"They honestly had their hoods zipped up really well," said Anthony Gockel, owner of Kansas Classics. "So we can't tell much, but there was one guy that did not have gloves and we have his prints over everything."

Gockel said because of alerts he's received from other car dealers, he's been taking all the keys to his inventory home at night. The thieves were not able to get away with anything.

The bandits may have posed as customers earlier in the week to plan the break-in, because in the surveillance video, the operation appears to be well organized.
Gockel said the burglars knew exactly what they were looking for and where to find it.

Police said after stealing cars, the crooks sell them on sites like Craigslist for cash prices that are often too good to be true. Those in the market for a car should always avoid sellers who don't have a title to the vehicle. Only buy from reputable sellers or dealerships.

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