KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — As of June 2022, Knoxville police reported 76 incidents where guns were stolen from vehicles.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something new according to Knoxville Police Department Communications Director Scott Erland.
“It's a real problem and a real concern for police,” Erland said.
A police report from November 4, 2021, shows a thief broke into a car at an apartment complex on Carolina Way in West Knoxville, getting away with two firearms.
“It's bad enough if your wallet or your purse gets stolen,” Erland said. “It's worse if your firearm gets stolen, because who knows whose hands that falls into.”
Erland added criminals often use stolen weapons to commit other crimes.
On January 18, 2022, police arrested three men after a lengthy pursuit for evading a traffic stop.
Dakota Collins-Hill, Codie Martin, and Jason Slade were riding in a vehicle of interest connected to a shooting investigation that happened a couple of days prior in Mechanicsville.
Upon searching the vehicle, police found three loaded weapons, one of them being the stolen gun from West Knoxville.
Collins-Hill, Martin, and Slade all faced a handful of charges including theft of property for the stolen handgun.
“If you're a gun owner, know where your guns are and know that those guns are secure,” Erland said.
In 2021, Knoxville police said at least 123 firearms were stolen from vehicles, and over 50% of those vehicles were unlocked.
Security camera footage obtained by 10News shows a man going from car to car in Fort Sanders in February 2021, looking for an easy score.
Police reiterate the best place to keep your guns is secured in your home, and if you have to leave them in your car keep the guns locked away and out of sight.
If one of your firearms is stolen, report the incident to the police immediately.