Police: Guns stolen from Jefferson County often used for crime i - KMOV.com

Police: Guns stolen from Jefferson County often used for crime in St. Louis

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Many of the weapons used in violent gun crimes are stolen, which is why prosecutors and police in St. Louis are concerned about stolen firearms in communities across the area, like in a recent Jefferson County burglary.

"Oh, it's so scary, and especially the gun part," said Judy Hubb, who lives near Imperial.

On July 4, an Imperial man was out celebrating the Independence Day holiday when his home on Spring Forest Road was targeted by thieves.

"When he returned home, the front door was kicked in and he wound up going through the house, and the house had been ransacked and there were several weapons missing from the home," said Captain Ron Arnhart of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

The victim realized seven guns were stolen, including handguns, shotguns and an AR-15 assault rifle.

Detectives said even though they have promising leads, they are worried who could end up possessing the guns.

"What we believe is happening, burglaries are occurring here in Jefferson County and those weapons are finding their way up to St. Louis city," said Capt. Arnhart.

The weapons are sometimes sold for cash or drugs and end up being used for armed robberies or shootings. Last month, a man was arrested in Normandy while holding a gun stolen from a Jefferson County home in December.

"If you own a gun, please know, we have such a problem with stolen guns right now in St. Louis and those guns go on to commit gun violence," said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Police and prosecutors want law-abiding gun owners in Jefferson County and throughout the area can stop violent crime by securing their guns and preventing them from being an easy target for thieves.

"Probably the best thing to do is have a safe," said Capt. Arnhart.

Authorities also recommended that gun owners use a lock box in their vehicle, take photographs of guns and writing down serial numbers to assist investigators in case the firearms are stolen.

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