Saturday, September 22, 2018
Public safety

Report: $36 million worth of guns stolen in Florida in four years

An estimated $36 million worth of guns was stolen in Florida from 2012 to 2015, according to an analysis released this week by the Center for American Progress.

The nonpartisan institute examined FBI data to determine the total value of stolen guns per state. Texas and California led the country in the total value of stolen weapons, with Florida ranking third.

Analysts used the total worth of the guns to calculate how many weapons were stolen, and determined about 80,000 firearms were reported stolen in four years in the state.

The study also calculated federal data for licensed gun dealers and found that nearly 2,000 weapons were taken from these businesses during the same time period in Florida.

Several Tampa Bay gun shops were targeted by thieves in the past year. At the Grey Wolf Armory in Pasco, thieves broke in twice by bashing holes into a concrete wall. In Hillsborough last November, a pickup truck crashed into the glass entrance of the Tampa Arms Company. Dozens of hooded suspects swarmed the store and stole nearly 40 guns, authorities said.

"Stolen guns pose a significant risk to community safety," the study reads. "Whether stolen from a gun store or an individual gun owner's collection, these guns often head straight into the illegal underground gun market, where they are sold, traded, and used to facilitate violent crimes."

In Tampa Bay, stolen guns have resurfaced in crimes in recent years.

In January, 42-year-old Clifton Moody was arrested on charges that he fatally shot a coworker at a Clearwater mobile home park with a stolen firearm.

In December 2014, Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek was killed while responding to a noise complaint. That gun was stolen months earlier from an unlocked car in Jacksonville.

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

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