Police warn gun owners thieves are targeting firearms in cars

Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 12:02 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond police are sending a message to gun owners - don’t leave guns accessible in your car. The warning comes as investigators are noticing many of the stolen guns they’ve confiscated are coming from cars that thieves have broken into.

Last year around 450 guns were stolen in Richmond. More than half of them came from cars that thieves got into. Those guns were easy to get their hands on. Police say that can be dangerous.

The right to bear arms is one that comes with responsibility.

"Whether it’s one gun or 200 guns, it gives somebody the opportunity to use that weapon in a violent crime,” Lt. Dave Naoroz said.

It's why he is working to send out an important message -don't leave your gun in your car in plain view of thieves.

Last year, 270 of the 454 guns stolen in Richmond came from cars.

"People trying the door handle, finding that it’s open and going through the vehicle pretty quickly to get what they can see,” Naoroz added.

They're finding guns, especially in cars parked outside of clubs.

"A lot of times people know that they can’t bring a firearm into a club or into a bar so they leave it in what they may believe is secured inside their vehicle - and it’s not unless it’s in a locked container that’s secured to the vehicle,” Naoroz suggested.

That’s why the Geauga Firearms Academy created a video reminding gun owners what to do if they have to leave their gun in their car.

"We will never suggest that you leave it in a glove box even if it does lock because someone with a simple tool can easily open it and of course you never want to leave it in the center console,” Kimberly Nemetz said in the video.

Instead, do this.

"What you do want to have is a steel lockbox cabled to the frame of your car under your seat,” Nemetz continued.

Richmond Police want the message to stick in order to save lives.

"These guns do get used in other crimes and crimes of violence,” Naoroz said.

NBC 12′s personal safety expert Mike Jones says avoid leaving your gun in your trunk as well. He also reminds us that a lockbox or safe in your car is temporary and should never be considered a permanent storage place.

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