Police urge gun owners to use ‘common sense’ to avoid thefts

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a massive gun bust in New York with ties to the Commonwealth, police in Richmond are staking out ways to keep illegal weapons out of the wrong hands.

For licensed gun owners, police say it starts with common sense precautions to keep weapons from being stolen and re-sold on the street.

“Just one (incident) the other day, a person left two guns, a computer and 600 dollars in cash in his unlocked car,” Third Precinct Lieutenant Harold Giles said at a 9th District community meeting Thursday night. He and two other officers told residents these cases are becoming all too common in Richmond.

“(Thieves are) looking for anything they can sell. And unfortunately the city has gotten into the habit of leaving cars unlocked,” Giles said. “A little common sense has to play in some place.”

The officers warned gun owners to keep their car doors locked and take their gun inside their homes instead of leaving them in their vehicles.

“These guns, they’re taken out of cars, they’re selling up and down Midlothian Turnpike and other areas of the city,” Giles said.

Since January 1, Lieutenant Giles told 8News he has seen approximately 38 thefts from unlocked cars in sector 312 alone. By his estimation, at least 10 of them involved guns.

“These are the kind of guns that are being used for some of the violent crimes that are happening.”

In contrast to the trafficking ring that operated out of Virginia involving the buying and resale of firearms, when weapons are stolen from an unlocked car, police say they are not turning up for resale in stores. Officers told community members this makes it more difficult to track down illegally sold weapons.

“They’re getting sold on the street to individual people.”

Richmond police have a cash-for-tips program called GUN250. If you know someone who has an illegal weapon, text 274637 with the keyword GUN250 followed by your tip. Your tip could earn a reward up to $250.

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