‘They want guns’: McLennan County officials say more thieves are stealing guns
McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - Authorities in McLennan County are warning residents to lock their vehicles and avoid leaving valuables inside.
There is reportedly an increase in thieves taking guns from cars and using them to commit crimes.
One technique they say thieves use is throwing a rock at a car window. They’ll walk away, and if an alarm doesn’t go off, they’ll go back to the vehicle and take everything inside, including guns stored inside.
McLennan County District Attorney Josh Tetens recently took to Facebook to warn the community about the issue.
”Folks on the juvenile spectrum about 14 to 20 years old are very organized,” Tetens said. “They’re going to neighborhoods on a nightly basis and it’s a smash and grab and they want guns.”
The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office said more people are also picking locks of parked cars, especially at night.
”One of the people we arrested says it’s just like playing the lottery: you never know what you’ll get,” sheriff Parnell McNamara said. “You could get a purse, money, jewelry, or a gun, what have you.”
County officials say these thieves are wiping the gun serial numbers and passing them around to others.
”A lot of them end up on the streets, in the hands of gang members, some of them pawned, some of them traded for dope,” sheriff McNamara said. “They never end up in the hands of good people.”
Tetens said this type of theft can make it harder to prosecute cases.
”Since we don’t have those serial numbers we’re not able to trace them back to the direct owner and know exactly where they came from,” Tetens said.
Tetens said he’s already seen several instances where a stolen gun with no serial number is used to commit multiple crimes across the state.
”We recently had a case where we were able to trace back through shell casings a weapon that was recovered and used in five different shootings, one of which was in Dallas,” Tetens said.
Sheriff McNamara encourages gun owners to write down all serial numbers for their guns. He said it’s a common mistake that many gun owners sometimes forget to make. If the serial number is written down, the sheriff’s office can use that number to try and track it down if it is stolen.
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