SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A used car dealership on the north side of Sioux Falls is beefing-up security after thieves stole four vehicles from their lot over the weekend. Surveillance cameras captured images of one of the thieves after he broke into J & R Auto Sales Sunday night.
A J & R employee spotted one of the stolen vehicles Tuesday night.
A burglar broke into a back door at J & R Auto Sales, before breaking into another room and helping himself to several sets of keys that gave thieves access to four vehicles from the lot.
“It’s a sick feeling because all it does is cost you money,” J & R Auto Sales Operations Manager Brian Jasper said.
Operations manager Brian Jasper estimates the four stolen vehicles totaled $40,000. Police were able to recover two of the vehicles which have been returned to the lot. Employee Justin Neuroth spent two nights looking for the others. He spotted one of them on West Madison Street and called police, who arrived at the scene.
“I told the 911 operator okay, I’m going to hang up, I gotta call my boss and let him know we found one of the cars. By the time I calmed down and stopped shaking from excitement, the suspect casually drove away from the scene,” Neuroth said.
But police say they didn’t want to endanger the public in pursuit of a stolen vehicle, when there’s no immediate threat.
“We’re not going to pursue vehicles unless there’s a potential for somebody being hurt, if it’s a serious crime that was committed, there was a weapon involved,” Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls Police Department said.
But it’s not just about getting those stolen vehicles back. The shop will have to spend more money on new security throughout the entire building.
“What’s next now is bars on the window. We’re going to have to fortify our building. We will not leave keys in the building,” Jasper said.
Jasper says the extra investment is a sign of the times for stopping thieves in the future.
“It never used to be like that. But everything is changing. You just gotta expect the worst, you know,” Jasper said.
Jasper says had a private security company not responded promptly to the scene, the thieves might have stolen even more vehicles.