Daring smash & grabs target gun stores. Should security be mandatory?
An alarming trend of daring smash and grab thefts at gun stores, has law enforcement very concerned with some now calling for mandatory security at the businesses. "I would guess well over half of the guns used in violent crimes in the city are stolen," explains Asst. Special Agent with the ATF over the region, David Hyche.
Fighting For You investigated how these thieves strike in seconds and how the stolen weapons often fall into very violent hands.
One such case happened last month at a Pelham gun store. The burglars smashed through the front of the store in a truck. They were in and out in around sixty seconds with a load of weapons.
"Guns are money, used in barter for dope," says Hyche. He tells us even though an arrest in that case was made with in 24 hours, many of the guns were already sold on the black market. Hyche says only 20-30% of the guns stolen are recovered.
Many of the stolen guns will be used in violent crimes like the one used to kill a young father and veteran in Hoover. Mike Gilloti was shot to death outside his home.
In 2015 the ATF recorded 481 guns lost or stolen in Alabama. And that's just what was reported to police.
Federal law does not require any security measures at gun stores, but calls for change are growing as scenes of brazen burglaries are repeated across the country.
The Pelham store had good security in place and was still hit. Now concrete barriers out front add another layer of protection.
Thefts of personal guns also a huge concern. Experts say you need several layers of security as well. The gun needs to be in a locked case in the trunk and brought inside at night. Many weapons are stolen at night from unlocked cars.
Also be sure you write down the make, model and serial number of your gun. That's the only way law enforcement can make a case and return a gun to you if it's recovered.