Two SUVs stolen from Washington were recovered in Franklin County this week when the owners spotted the vehicles while recovering discarded personal items.

According to Washington police, a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer was taken Sunday, Nov. 4, from Xpress Liquor & Smokes, 201 E. Fifth St. The owner of the vehicle had left the vehicle running when she went into the store about 7:45 p.m. 

New Haven police later recovered the victim’s purse and other items in the parking lot of a New Haven car wash. When the victim’s husband went to that location to search for other items, he saw the stolen SUV at gas pumps of Casey’s General Store.

The man confronted the suspect who fled on foot from the store, Washington police Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said. 

New Haven police searched for the suspect but he was not located.

A second SUV, a 2010 Ford Edge, was stolen previously the same day from Riechers Tire and Auto located at 4710 South Point Road. The keys and personal items belonging to the vehicle were left inside the vehicle.

Washington police said surveillance video from the Fas-Trip Convenience Store at 4700 South Point Road showed the suspect driving the car into the store lot about 5 a.m. 

A short time later, the Missouri State Highway Patrol found the victim’s purse in a ditch outside of St. Clair. The trooper took the purse to the victim’s home in Washington.

The victim did not know her car was stolen when the trooper arrived at her home. She and the trooper went to Riechers Tire and Auto and reported the vehicle stolen to Washington police when it was not at the business.

The victim went to the location where the trooper found her purse and saw her vehicle drive by her, and then park  outside a home nearby. 

She contacted authorities and the patrol arrived at the scene, arrested the driver and three other suspects inside the vehicle. 

Inside the vehicle were two men, ages 30, Villa Ridge; and 36, Union; and two women, ages 29, St. Clair; and 20, Washington. 

The suspects were arrested but formal charges have not yet been filed, according to Washington police.