ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Gun thefts are soaring again in St. Louis. Seven guns were stolen from four cars over the Thanksgiving weekend, police said.
Tuesday, authorities called on gun owners to take action.
Locking guns in the trunk or glove compartment is not enough. St. Louis Police report a double-digit percent increase in gun theft, with more than 1800 gun thefts just this year.
There’s a lot of smashed car glass from a 48-hour period starting Thanksgiving night.
The suspects weren’t looking for smartphones or IPads.
“It’s not unusual for them to break into 4 or 5 or 6 cars in a row and not take anything out of the first five but in the 6th car they find a gun, it’s like winning the lottery for them,” said St. Louis Police Chief, Sam Dotson.
A thief or thieves really hit the jackpot at the Thanksgiving night crime scene at the Holiday Inn Downtown, stealing 4 handguns from the same vehicle: a PT 92, a Rock Island 1911, a Mark 23, and a Glock 34, police said.
“Be smart about it,” Dotson said, referring to gun owners. “You got 5 firearms that can be used to hurt somebody in your car. You leave them in a way that a criminal can take them, they took them. Now they’re going to be used in the commission of a crime.”
Saturday afternoon there was another car break-in, at Laclede’s Landing this time: a .380 pistol was stolen, police said.
Later that night, at Theresa and Scott near the Grand MetroLink station in Midtown, two more cars were hit. Two more handguns were stolen: a Glock 9mm and a Highpoint 9mm.
“If your gun is stolen, report it,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Jennifer Joyce.
Victims of gun theft often do not report the crime, which feeds the problem, she said.
People stealing guns aren’t stealing them for personal security.
“Those guns go right out into the street and are used in gun violence on a daily basis,” Joyce said. “We know as prosecutors that most of the cases we see, most of the violent crime, is committed with stolen guns. If we were able to get people to properly secure their guns, our crime would plummet in St. Louis,” she said.
“If you have it in your car, find a way to secure it. Put a lock box in your car, bolt to a trunk so a criminal can’t take your gun. We can replace a window. It’s a lot harder to replace somebody’s life if that guns used in the commission of a crime,” Dotson said.
Gun safes that you can bolt into your car run about $100-$150 dollars. There are no suspect descriptions in these latest crimes. There's hope surveillance cameras turn up something.