Police warn thieves are targeting guns in cars

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

"We had carry conceal permits, now you can conceal carry and open carry.  There's a lot more guns I think just being carried in general.  And I think people just don't realize what the potential is if they leave it in the car," said Lt. Scott Brunow, Wichita Police.

With more Kansans armed now there are more guns left in cars daily across Wichita.  While most hide their guns in safe boxes under the seat or in the glove compartment, police say that's not enough to stop thieves.

"Just don't leave it in the car," is Brunow's advice.

He says in the first three weeks of April thieves have stolen 11 guns out of cars, 58 so far this year.

"The people that are out breaking into cars and stealing them aren't law abiding citizens, you know?  They're not stealing that gun to go hunting with, or go target shooting with it.  They're stealing,  They're going to commit other crimes with it," Brunow added.

That's what happened in the death of Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Kunze last September.  Investigators say the gun that killed him was stolen from someone's car.

"If you leave your gun in the car and it gets stolen," Brunow said, "Yeah, you're the victim of a crime.  But how many other people are now possible victims, because that criminal has a gun, or two guns, or more?"

Vicki Kline knows just how easy it is to have your vehicle broken into.  In the years since someone rummaged through her car, she's changed her habits.

"I always lock it.  No matter where I am or if I'm only going to be a couple of minutes inside someplace, I always make sure to lock it," Kline said.

She also never leaves her personal possessions in the car.  From her purse and coat to that spare handful of change, she clears it all out.

"If you remove the opportunity for those things and make it harder to get to items or harder to get into your car," she said, "I think that would change things."

Brunow says that should include any firearms.  Both say many Kansans just don't realize how often the theft of firearms from vehicles happens.

"Point blank, they're being left in the cars and being stolen," he said.

He adds, another thing to keep in mind is that these thefts happen at all hours.  Last week the majority of them were happening between three and six in the afternoon.

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