MATTHEWS -- Local law enforcers are searching for two men caught on video surveillance for burglarizing and vandalizing a New Madrid County truck stop earlier this week.
Around 1 a.m. Tuesday at Luvs Truck Stop in Matthews, on Interstate 55 at exit 58 on Highway 80, two white males were recorded by surveillance cameras entering the truck stop's game room, where they played video games for a while and then tampered with the change machine, according to Sgt. Scott Stoelting, criminal investigator with Troop E of the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control.
"They sprayed a black silicone over the mirror of the surveillance camera and then stole change from the change machine," Stoelting said.
The burglary marks the fourth in a series of burglaries over the last month where quarters were targeted by burglars.
On Jan. 7 three burglaries occurred in New Madrid and remain unsolved. The crimes are also believed to be connected because they occurred around the same time of day.
An employee from Finley Carwash, located on Highway 61, notified police on Jan. 7 the business had been broken into and a large amount of quarters taken from the change machine. The Eagles Club, located near the carwash, also was found burglarized. A large amount of quarters was reported missing.
On the same day, an employee of Wagley's Auto Sales reported a vehicle missing from the car lot. Entry was gained to the office and an undetermined amount of tools were missing, according to the police.
Officers later located the vehicle at the rest area off Interstate 55, south of New Madrid.
The four burglaries may be related since they all happened around the same time of day, in the same county, at the same type of business, and they're targeting large quantities of change, Stoelting noted.
"Most area businesses have surveillance cameras of some kind, but this was the first one with usable video," Stoelting said.
Unlike many businesses, Luvs Truck Stop uses a digital recording device rather than the standard VHS systems. It's easier to share the video, which can be viewed via computer, DVD player or burned to a disk, Stoelting said.
The Patrol, which is conducting the investigation with the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department, also urges businesses to contact police if they encounter someone trying to cash an unusually large amount of change.
Anyone with information regarding the crimes is asked to contact the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department at 1-800-961-1596 or the Patrol at (573) 840-9500.