ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It`s easy for criminals to get guns. You might be surprised at who`s supplying many of them. Investigative reporter Chris Hayes broke down the staggering numbers of guns stolen from parked cars.
(Click on our map of locations where criminals are stealing guns from cars.)
Many criminals are beginning to expect to find a gun in a car. They might break your window just to see if you have a firearm under your seat. The criminals are finding them, hundreds of them.
One inner city man told me, 'What else to do is rob a car and just do it. And rob a person with the gun they get out of the car.'
This man, who did not want to be identified, said it`s common knowledge on the streets. 'We break into cars get what we get, get a gun. Rob somebody.'
Fox 2 requested a list of all guns stolen from cars in Saint Louis in the last two years. The response came back with hundreds of reports. We asked for the reports in order to determine how many legal guns are becoming illegal weapons. According to the list, it`s happening almost every other day.
Several people on the street told me they stake out areas with many cars. One guy claimed that for every five cars, you`ll find one gun inside.
One of the documented reports showed an incident in front of the art museum.
Fox 2 also mapped the stolen gun reports to show you where they`re disappearing. It`s happening in almost every part of Saint Louis -- from a semi-automatic pistol reported stolen from a car in Lafayette Square to another semi-automatic stolen out of a car on Parkview, next to Children`s Hospital.
Saint Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told me, 'It has a direct impact and correlation to the crime we have.'
Dotson says he respects your right to bear arms, but wants you to remember the places that don`t allow them. He said, 'You can`t take your gun into a sports event with more than 5,000 people. So don`t bring it with you and leave it in the car, churches, shopping malls, theatres.'
It appears some people forget they`re carrying. That`s how TSA agents explain dozens of guns they discover every week in airports. Just last week the TSA said it discovered 57 passengers with firearms. Agents documented 47 of the firearms were loaded.
People who leave guns in their cars may be trying to do the right thing, by keeping them out of businesses that prohibit them. Whatever the reason, criminals have it figured out where there`s plenty of supply.
Part of the solution may be gun lockboxes. You can find them for as low as $35 and they can be bolted in your car or secured by a locked cable.