DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD)–In the middle of a pandemic, crime doesn’t stop. Over the weekend, multiple cars and parts were stolen from Dunlap Motors costing them thousands of dollars worth in replacement and repairs.
Late Saturday night Peoria County Sheriff deputies responded to a break-in at the lot. Coming away with three vehicles and keys to many others.
“It was a forced entry through the business, where they went inside and ended up stealing all the keys to the vehicles on the lot. and came away with three cars,” said Peoria County sheriff, Brian Asbell.
Thieves stole keys to over 10 cars some costing $300 to $400 to replace. And without keys, Dunlap Motors now has to pay towing fees to move their cars to dealerships for replacements. For a local company like Dunlap Motors, the costs come when business is already slow.
“With the economic times right now with Corona-virus going on, it’s definitely devastating,” said owner, Bob Hines.
With the thieves having keys, they now have access to the other cars still on the lot, leaving Hines concerned.
“Our fear at this point is they have keys to cars that are on the lot–what happens if they come back and take other vehicles, so we’re taking precautions to prevent that,” Hines said.
Peoria County sheriff Brian Asbell says the suspects appear to be underage in most of the thefts.
“A lot of these are juveniles that are being arrested and unfortunately they don’t score out to be kept in custody. We’ve had some situations where we’ve arrested the same individual twice in one day,” Asbell said.
The sheriff also says crimes like these are happening not only in his office but in other towns throughout the area.
“This isn’t new. The City of Peoria, Bloomington, Morton–they’ve all experienced some of these burglaries and car thefts,” Asbell said.
Hines says if it wasn’t for a passing car that called the police, the thieves could have potentially gotten away with more.
“I don’t know how many cars they would’ve taken if that person hadn’t helped out so we really appreciate that,” Hines said.
Asbell says anyone can be a victim and to watch out for one another.
“See something, say something, look out for your neighbors,” Asbell said.
The sheriff’s office has recovered all three stolen vehicles but no suspects have been arrested.