Investigators are actively searching for more details about a string of burglaries starting late last year in mid-December near the Lake of the Woods area east of Columbia. The crimes began in December and have not slowed down.
On Friday the Boone County Sheriff's Department said the break-ins were reported at several homes on Godas Drive, North Villa Drive and Pinehurst Drive. The BP Convenience Store on St. Charles Road was also burglarized around 3:15 a.m. December 15.
"I feel fairly certain that the suspects are people who live nearby or frequent that area," said Boone County Detective, Tom O'Sullivan. He told ABC 17 News the largest piece of evidence pointing to this conclusion is how the criminals got into the homes.
"They forced entry by kicking open a door or breaking through the window," said O'Sullivan.
This leads investigators to believe the suspects knew the homeowner's schedules, so it is likely not random. There was only one house where the suspects were able to get in through an unlocked window.
"They've been taking electronics, jewelery, cash, alcohol, and guns; the basic things you'd expect a burglar to take," said O'Sullivan.
Detectives do not believe the suspects are armed. However, by Friday evening they did not know how many suspects there were or how they are getting away, by either car or foot.
Investigators hoped to get suspect descriptions from the BP gas station cameras, but were unsuccessful.
"They dismantled the security system before they broke into the door," said O'Sullivan.
The gas station burglary was the only one that happened early in the morning. The others were during the day.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (573) 875-TIPS (7477).