COLUMBUS, Ind.- Police are reminding gun owners to secure their firearms. Within the past week, four guns have been reported stolen in Columbus. So far this year, police have reports of 47 stolen guns.
“It makes you where are they at? Who has them? I mean, who is getting shot with them,” questions Jeff Sanford, a homeowner.
Police worry stolen weapons could lead to more violent crimes.
“It could end up being a life or death mistake,” explains Lt. Matt Harris, with the Columbus Police Department.
Since 2016, police have reports of 183 stolen guns that are now somewhere on the streets.
“For a city the size of Columbus, that is a lot of firearms that have been stolen in a short time,” Lt Harris.
Thieves are stealing most of the firearms form cars and homes left unlocked.
“That’s not acceptable around here,” explains Sanford.
At the end of last summer, Jeff Sandford caught two teenagers stealing stuffs from his garage. The encounter quickly turned dangerous when the 16-year-old grabbed a gun.
“He cocked his gun back and he just started pointing it at me,” explains Sanford.
Police arrested the juvenile and a 19-year-old. Sanford isn’t sure if the gun used was stolen, but knows it clearly ended up in the wrong hands.
“The kid could’ve shot me with that, it could’ve killed me obviously,” explains Sanford.
Most of the stolen firearms are handguns but there are some cases involving shotguns and rifles. If it’s not a crime, police see the weapons sold for drugs and many times to someone who can’t legally buy one on their own.
“People need to take a second and third look and if you’re going to be carrying a weapon with you, it needs to be on you or locked up in a safe whether in a vehicle or your home,” explains Lt. Harris.
From 2016-2017, Columbus saw a 65% increase in the number of reports of guns stolen.