After two cars stolen in months, Independence man frustrated with police response

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — People in Independence are voicing concerns about police response times in the area.

Tim Gardner said he’s become a target for thieves, and he fears something worse could soon happen.

He first called police when his 2015 Ford Edge Titanium was stolen in October. Police did respond and take a case report when his car was stolen, but he said they never followed up.

“The people who stole my SUV, came back out, driving by my house almost every other day, in my stolen SUV. I was calling 911, and the detective on hand, I got nothing in return from the police department,” Gardner said.

He has surveillance footage of the thieves driving by his home, but he said officers never came to his home when he called 911.

“I stayed up until 10:30 that night to see if a cop would show up or at least make a police report — nothing,” he said. “No one showed up from them.”

Since then, Gardner said his second car was also stolen, along with $3,000 worth of carpentry tools and a gun. He can’t afford to lose anything more, he said.

“I’m a union carpenter. I build bridges for a living, and I lost a lot of money in tools and two vehicles,” Gardner said. “We are terrified. I just don’t know what to do.”

Again, Gardner said police took a report when his second vehicle and tools were stolen, but he said they haven’t followed up.

Slow response times aren’t just a concern for people like Gardner. They’re also a concern for Independence police.

A spokesperson for the department told FOX4 they are down several officers, which does impact response time to non-emergency calls.

As of last week, the department also returned to its COVID dispatch and response procedures. While on COVID protocol, the department isn’t responding in person to some types of non-emergency calls. 

Police said when they responded to Gardner’s home for both vehicle thefts, it was between 7-30 minutes.

Gardner said his other calls to police and the detective over his case have yet to be answered. He hopes to see more patrols in the area.

“Now I’m afraid for my life if anything else happens,” Gardner said.

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