WATCH: Suspect fires shots at gun case during break-in at Academy Sports

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:36 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2022 at 1:51 PM CDT
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O’FALLON, Ill. (KMOV) - An investigation is underway after two Academy Sports + Outdoors stores were targeted in St. Peters and the Metro East.

The first incident was reported at the sporting goods store on West Highway 50 in O’Fallon, Illinois around 4:20 a.m. A dark-colored Hyundai Elantra was abandoned in between the damaged double doors of the building. Employees told News 4 that no one was injured since they were just arriving for their shift Wednesday morning. Police later said surveillance video from inside the store showed multiple people getting out of the Hyundai following the crash and heading to the gun department. The suspects then reportedly attempted to get into the gun cases using a blunt force object but were not successful. They then ran off.

According to authorities, the vehicle used to crash into the store was reported stolen. About two blocks away from the store, a red over gray 2012 Kia Optima with the Illinois license Q598918 was stolen from the 100 block of Dean Drive. Authorities believe the missing Kia Optima and the incident at the store are connected.

About an hour later and miles away in St. Peters, police said a stolen silver Hyundai rammed through the front door of the Academy Sports on the I-70 North Outer Road near Mid Rivers Mall Drive. St. Peters Police said suspects ran towards the gun case and tried to shoot through the glass to steal items. After an unsuccessful attempt, two would-be thieves took off in a red Volkswagen Jetta.

Car rams into Academy Sports in O'Fallon, Illinois

Melissa Doss with the St. Peters Police said their department is aware of a similar incident in O’Fallon, Illinois and plans to follow up with investigators.

“It’s always concerning for law enforcement when you have groups of criminals that are going out with their sole purpose of getting firearms, that’s definitely concerning,” Doss said. “It is frustrating for us because obviously when you’re utilizing a stolen vehicle, it takes away a lot of evidence that we would normally have, a good vehicle description, a plate number that actually goes back to maybe the criminal’s family member, so that does make it more difficult for us.”

No additional information has been released.