ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Police in Altoona said they wouldn’t be surprised if the gun used to kill a 15-year-old last week was stolen out of a car in the city.
Now, Blair County officials are reminding residents to lock up their cars after a string of break-ins.
Altoona police say 12 guns have been stolen out of unlocked cars in the past year, four of them taken in the past two months.
Sgt. Matthew Plummer said the majority of the break-ins are happening in areas where there is less crime and foot traffic.
“It almost seems that the people residing there feel like they live in a safe neighborhood and that it’s okay to leave their vehicles unlocked. However, it seems that these criminals know that’s how they leave their vehicles,” he said.
Plummer said drivers need to lock their cars, no matter where they live or what they’re used to doing.
“I know that some of our older residents maybe grew up leaving vehicles unlocked, but those times have changed,” he said.
County Sheriff James Ott said not securing your firearm in a safe, as well as not locking up your car, can put guns in the wrong hands.
“Whether it’s an unlocked car, whether somebody breaks into the vehicle, they’re looking for change, they’re looking for whatever, and they stumble across a gun. Now they have a gun, out on the street that you don’t have control of,” he said.
Both Plummer and Ott said it is solely the gun owner’s responsibility to know where their gun is and not let anyone else get to it.
“If there is no safeguard in between simply opening up a car door and getting to a loaded firearm, it is very irresponsible of the actually gun owner,” Plummer said.