Thieves look to steal guns in Columbus home burglaries - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

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Thieves look to steal guns in Columbus home burglaries

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Major Stan Swiney, CPD Major Stan Swiney, CPD
James Redmon, Gunowner James Redmon, Gunowner
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

James Redmon has been a gun owner since his 14th birthday. He says the increase in recent home burglaries is the reason he's buying another gun.

"Anything can happen so you have to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared," says Redmon.

Major Stan Swiney of the Columbus Police Department says guns are one of the most popular items to be taken in home burglaries. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says there were over 500 guns recovered in Columbus last year. Police say the recovered guns usually ended up in the wrong hands.

"Firearms are almost always taken if they're found in a burglary," says Swiney. "And certainly guns are stolen for the purpose of committing a crime with them."

That's why Swiney says it's important to record your firearm's serial number. If the gun is stolen, police can track it easier if they have identification. Columbus police have a tracking system in place with local pawn and gun shops that alerts them whenever someone tries to sell a stolen gun. They work with businesses in the area to track serial numbers. But police say gun owners need to use preventive measures to make sure it doesn't get stolen in the first place.

"Any police officer who gets his hand on a firearm, the first thing he's going to do is run that serial number," says Swiney.

Swiney also says every gun owner should store firearms in a locked safe, and to keep serial numbers separate from guns. He says thieves target serial number documents as well. Redman says he takes all these preventive measures.

"Have your gun secured at all times. If you do have firearms, one or more, you should have a burglar alarm system and of course record all your firearms," says Redmon.

The Columbus Police Department did not have an exact number of how many stolen guns they've recovered, but when they obtain a stolen gun, they return it to the original  owner, destroy it, or auction it off.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms reports Columbus ranks 5th for recovered guns in 2012. Georgia ranks 2nd in reported gun thefts.

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