The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office would like to make residents aware of a crime trend that our Criminal Investigations Section has been tracking. Over the past several months, a number of firearms have been stolen from unsecured vehicles.
Sheriff Dave Wedding stated, “Unfortunately, vehicle break-ins are not an uncommon occurrence within subdivisions and residential neighborhoods. These break-ins often occur at night, where cover of darkness allows thieves to move about undetected.”
Locked cars are almost always bypassed by thieves, who tend to favor unlocked cars. Breaking a window makes noise and defeating a lock takes time, both are factors which increase the chance a thief will be observed.
Once a thief is inside a vehicle, spare change and easily carried items such as electronics, prescription meds and cell phones are most commonly taken. Our office has recently documented multiple cases where loaded handguns have been taken from unlocked vehicles parked in various county neighborhoods.
When a thief steals a firearm, the danger level increases markedly:
- The homeowner is now at risk of being shot by their own gun should they surprise the thief.
- Law enforcement is now at an increased risk if they encounter the thief.
- The stolen firearm could later be used in a crime of violence by the thief or by someone the thief gave or sold the firearm to.
The Sheriff’s Office offers the following tips to minimize the risks associated with vehicle break-ins:
- Do not store firearms in a vehicle unless they have been securely locked away.
- Never leave your car unlocked, not even in your driveway.
- Store valuables inside your home, or at least in a locked trunk or glove box.
- Park in a well lit area or under a motion activated light.
- If you park outside, do not store a garage door opener in your vehicle. If your vehicle is broken into, the thief now has access to your garage and house.
Pictured above: An unsecured handgun left in the center console of a vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Det. A. Lasher)