Gun Stickers = Bullseye for Thieves
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Those seemingly innocuous gun or hunting stickers on the back of many Charlotte-area vehicles are bullseyes for a new breed of thief. "Our fear is it's about to pick back up," say CMPD Officer Chris Kopp. With highly-attended race week, Fourth of July, and lots of other popular summer activities just around the corner, CMPD is warning gun owners or enthusiasts that the stickers could make them targets for opportunistic bad guys. Kopp says, "The criminals assume there might be a firearm in there and, unfortunately, like I said, a lot of the time, they're correct."
University City Division officers have made arrests in these cases. Most recently, they arrested a repeat offender and charged him with a handful of misdemeanors and felonies.
WCCB talked to one conceal-carry permitted gun owner who has the tell-tale stickers on his truck and always has his weapon with him. He didn't want us to show his face. He says the targeted nature of this crime is really bothersome, but he won't remove his stickers. The man says, "I mean, anything somebody's gonna take away something I worked really hard for, by all means." He continues, "I will never take off something to appease somebody else."
Kopp has two tips for firearms owners who have the stickers and conceal-carry permits. First, if you know you're going somewhere that doesn't allow guns inside, leave your weapon at home. And second, if you do need to leave your weapon in your vehicle, store it in a secured, attached gun safe. Kopp says, "We understand larceny from a vehicle is a minor crime stat, however it could turn into potentially robbery, homicide, stuff like that, and that's what we're trying to prevent."
The criminals are smashing windows to get into the vehicles. Kopp tells WCCB in some of the cases, the stolen firearms have been recovered.