HOUSTON - Houston police are warning of a concerning trend involving a rise in the number of firearms stolen from cars.
"It’s out of control," said Sgt. Tracy Hicks from Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Crimes Task Force. "People have to stop leaving their guns in their cars."
According to Hicks, more than 3,600 guns were stolen from cars in Houston throughout 2021. In January, the pattern continued with more than 350 guns taken from vehicles in Houston.
"The people who are stealing guns from cars, they’re people who aren’t allowed to have guns, felons," said Hicks. "They’re [also] selling them to people who aren’t allowed to have a gun legally."
Nhat Le’s car windows were shattered Monday by thieves. He believes he was followed from a shooting range to a restaurant. Fortunately, he locked his firearm in his car’s glove-box. However, the thieves broke two car windows and stole his backpack.
"It’s an easy crime," said Le. "When you report this stuff to the cops, they can’t really do much about it. Good thing I hid my gun. I had a gut feeling someone might rob me."
Houston police say these gun thieves will target vehicles they believe have guns inside. Once they get into a vehicle, Hicks says burglars know where people routinely hide their valuables and firearms.
"We’ve had apartment complexes with 40, 50, or 60 cars broken into and nothing missing," said Hicks. "They’re looking for guns."
Hicks says many of the people stealing firearms from vehicles are felons. He believes if there are fewer guns taken from cars, there could be a decrease in the number of shootings.
"Anything we can do to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys is really going to help us all," said Hicks.