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West Plains police investigate multiple reports of stolen guns from cars over last several weeks

Published: Nov. 22, 2020 at 10:00 PM CST
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - A large number of gun thefts have been reported in West Plains lately, according to local police.

“In the last several weeks, we’ve answered multiple calls of firearms that have been stolen out of unlocked unattended vehicles,” West Plains Officer Wesley Stuart said Sunday.

Stuart said you certainly can leave your gun in your car, but it is not the ideal option.

”Best-case scenario, if you don’t have to leave your firearm in your vehicle, take it in your house with you,” he said. “Secure it in your residence.”

Stuart said if you have to leave a firearm in your car, you should make sure that your car is locked and the gun is out of sight. He also recommended double-checking.

”I’ve taken some reports myself where the owner says, ‘I diligently locked my vehicle, but it had been left at a shop waiting for them to pick it up, and they’ve left it unlocked so they can get it,’” Stuart said.

Some of the stolen guns have been located and returned, but others are still missing.

Car theft is not necessarily uncommon, but it can be a bit more worrisome when weapons are involved.

”The biggest danger and concern that we have is that those firearms will end up in the hands of people that legally can’t own them or shouldn’t own them,” Stuart said.

He said that often leads to the concern of whether or not a person may use a stolen gun to commit another crime.

With holiday shopping around the corner, Stuart also recommended doing the same thing with items you purchase while doing seasonal shopping.

“Keep those items out of view,” he said. “Lock them in the trunk of your car. If you’ve got an SUV, maybe try and put a blanket over them, something like that, just to where they’re not readily visible.”

West Plains police are still investigating a few of those stolen gun cases.

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