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Thursday, July 23, 2009

More car thefts at Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

In recent years, cyclists and pedestrians who parked their vehicles on the Missouri side of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge ran the risk of having them broken into.

Now, the problem has spread to the Illinois parking lot on Chouteau Island, KTVI-TV, Channel 2 -- the Fox affiliate in St. Louis -- reported Thursday.

Despite the recent problems, the city of Madison, Ill., has no plans to close the Illinois lot. Instead, police are hoping cameras installed at the parking lot and help from the public will lead to the arrest of suspects in the break-ins.

Madison police believe a gang is responsible for the break-ins, and police told Channel 2 they can steal valuables out of cars in a matter of moments. The video shows broken vehicle windows.

The city of Madison owns the bridge, dating back from the days when the former toll bridge carried Route 66 travelers across the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Illinois. The bridge is now open to bicycle and pedestrian traffic only. St. Louis-based Trailnet operates the bridge.

For a while, Trailnet was able to provide security at the Missouri lot. But because of funding limitations, Trailnet last year closed the Missouri lot except for special events. People who want to approach the bridge from the Missouri side have to park in North Riverfront Park in St. Louis and bike or walk to the bridge.

If you do park on the Illinois lot, be sure to take your valuables with you while exploring the bridge or at least hide them out of sight if possible.


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