Indy gun thefts top 800 so far this year

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As of September 30, IMPD officers had taken 838 stolen gun reports with expectations they could pass 2017’s total of 1,100 such reports by the end of this year.

“I think sometimes people don’t even realize their guns have been taken and other times they don’t even want to admit their responsibility in gun ownership so they don’t report them,” said IMPD Lt. Craig McCart.

A review of IMPD stolen gun reports revealed several common and a few alternative explanations.

January 27: “Handgun was stolen during the Tri-State Gun Show at Stout Field.”

January 2:  “An unknown subject got into victims unlocked vehicle and stole her handgun.”

January 13:  “Male reported he left trunk open with firearm inside by accident and it was stolen overnight.”

February 11:  “A handgun was stolen from a purse during a small family gathering inside a residence.”

February 21:  “A male reported having his firearm stolen from him in his presence then fired at him as he chased the known suspect with his car.”

March 24:  “Victim stated the firearm was stolen from a gun range.”

March 25:  “Caller reported a shotgun stolen from his booth at a flea market.”

April 4:  “A female had her handgun stolen from her nightstand.”

June 8:  “Victim said his live in girlfriend had not come to pick him up from work. He later found out a joint bank account had been wiped out and when he returned home he discovered 5 of his guns had been taken from his gun safe and she is now gone and not answering her phone.”

July 14:  “Gun was taken, possible suspect, the caller’s 15 year old son.”

“What we see over and over guns are taken from vehicles, those vehicles are often unlocked and even when they’re locked, the guns are kept in the passenger compartment instead of the trunk of the car,” said McCart. “These reports that we hear they’re lying on the end table, ‘The gun was laying on the end table next to the sofa or it was laying on my nightstand,’ just like what you would do with a phone.”

Tony Gregory is a firearms safety instructor at Indy Arms Company.

“People need to understand that when you own a firearm you are taking on a huge moral and legal and personal responsibility,” said Gregory. “They need to understand morally and ethically what it means to contemplate using deadly force because that’s what firearms are about and get their mind wrapped around that and the safety issues because you may be perfectly safe but if that gun ends up in somebody’s hands who doesn’t know these things, it’s not.”

Gregory recalled the story of a burglar who, upon entering a home, would determine that if there were children in the family, any guns would likely be stored on upper shelves or tops of cabinets.

“You have to think like a thief a little bit for this to make some sense and you have to realize you may think your family is all trustworthy and all your friends are trustworthy but we’ve all be surprised on an occasion by that,” he said. “If I’m a thief I know where to watch for guns. I know where to watch people. If someone pulls in and someone fishes a gun out of a holster or a purse and shoves it under the seat, they may very well be being watched.”

A typical personal gun safe costs approximately $100 and, to be truly effective, needs to be bolted to a secure location so it can’t be stolen.

January 7:  “A home was broken into and a safe containing a firearm and cash were stolen from an upstairs bedroom.”