Number Of Firearms Stolen In Wichita On The Rise

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Broken glass litters the parking lot of a gun shop where thieves have shattered windows of three different cars and stolen guns and ammunition in the past two weeks. It’s a trend police are worried about.

Within the past two years, the number of firearms stolen has spiked.

Thunderbird Tactical gun shop owner Ryan Pennock is the latest victim.

“These guys only need a few seconds,” he said. “They bust that window out and go.”

The thieves stole a bag with ammunition and other gun supplies from his truck in broad daylight Thursday morning.

“Guns are valuable,” said Wichita Police Lt. Doug Nolte. “A lot of people have guns. Unfortunately, with what is going on in the news, those guns are commanding a higher price.”

Police are seeing a spike in the number of guns stolen in home and car break-ins. The numbers are alarming. In 2011 there were 413 firearms stolen. Last year, that number jumped to more than 547.

“We don't want guns in the hands of criminals,” Nolte said.

What’s to blame, some say, is anti-gun legislation. Others blame the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut. Pennock says his store is struggling to keep ammo and semiautomatic rifles in stock. And that may be behind the crime trend.

“I do think the fencing value, the money they can get, is higher, so that's increased their desire to want to get those items,” Pennock said.

Thunderbird has increased security around the shop, and police warn everyone to keep guns locked up in your homes and not to keep them in your car.

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