BRPD says criminals are breaking into car for guns

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It seems thieves are really after one thing.

"We've seen an uptick of individuals out there, breaking and burglarizing cars looking for guns and reselling them on the streets," said Sgt. L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

It can happen fast. WAFB's Carmen Farrish was given a special demonstration by police to see just how quickly a thief can get in, and get out.

"They're walking neighborhoods, canvassing the area," McKneely said. "Those guys are targeting vehicles with unlocked doors. They're not smashing windows. They're not jimmying the doors," he said. "They're just going hitting the handle."

You could have a target on your car or truck and not even know it, but the thieves sure do. "They're targeting cars with National Rifle Association symbols on the back and big trucks," McKneely said. "They're targeting vehicles that they believe might have guns inside."

From the moment the thief gets in the vehicle, it's a race to find a gun.

"The first thing they're going to look is underneath the seat, console, or glove box," said McKneely.

Police say the stolen gun is usually sold within a week and often times used within the next two months to commit a violent crime.

"They're criminals out there committing crimes with stolen guns. They're not using guns they purchased at the pawn shop or at these guns shops," McKneely said. "They want to commit these crimes with stolen guns because they feel that they're untraceable."

In some cases, McKneely says the guns are recovered in a traffic stop. "When we pull certain individuals over for traffic violations and make contact with them and search their vehicle, they have stolen guns in their car," he said.

For added safety, police suggest moving the gun into your home, but to make sure to put it in a secure location away from small children.

"We know it's an extra effort, we know that it takes thought to move the gun or that weapon from your car to your home, but we ask that you take that extra effort," he said.

Police also say gun owners should consider buying a gun lock and keep a record of the serial number, just in case it's stolen. Sgt. McKneely says keeping track of that number could possibly help investigators when attempting to recover the weapon if it's stolen.

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