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Gun thefts from vehicles on the rise in Charlotte

CMPD says there is a 65% increase in gun thefts so far in 2021 compared to the year before
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are urging gunowners to secure their weapons. Police say car break ins resulting in gun thefts are on the rise this year.

According to CMPD, about there have been 446 guns stolen in Charlotte so far this year. In 2020, there were a total of 255 weapons stolen and in 2019 there were 300 weapons stolen. About 4,100 cars have been broken into so far in 2021.

Police say the weapons are often taken from unlocked cars or from criminals breaking into cars. The vehicles are often parked in parking decks, parking lots of hotels, night clubs, and other populated areas.

Police say the guns are ending up in the wrong hands. For example, in May CMPD arrested 300 felons and 40 minors for having weapons.

Many times, police say they will see the stolen weapons used in other crimes.

“We have had an increase in our homicide rate and these firearms usually end up being used to commit violent crimes,” Captain Brad Koch said.

Larry Hyatt owns Hyatt Gun Specialty Store in west Charlotte. He says he has noticed the increase in gun thefts this year because many customers call for their serial number to report to police when the gun is stolen.

He says last June was their busiest time ever.

“A year ago, was the biggest gun buying month in the history of the gun industry, last June,” Hyatt said. “It was primarily by first time gun owners and primarily by people with urban lifestyles, lived in the cities.”

He says it is not uncommon for people who live in cities to keep their guns in their cars because they cannot bring them into schools, work, federal buildings, and many corporations. He encourages all gun owners to never keep their gun in their car. But if you must, he recommends you buy a gun lock box.

“It’s an inexpensive way to cut down on gun thefts,” Hyatt said.

Gun lock boxes cost roughly $30, according to Hyatt.

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