Stolen firearms link seven thefts

Police encourage gun, jewelry owners to register their wares.
Thursday, January 27, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:26 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Seven daylight burglaries of houses in Boone County in the last 10 days may be related, said Boone County Sheriff’s Department investigators Wednesday.

The link appears to be the theft of weapons. Electronics, jewelry and ammunition have also been reported stolen in the break-ins.

“The location, the date and time, how entry was gained to the residence and what was done inside all indicate that these burglaries could be related,” said Detective David Wilson.

All the break-ins occurred between Jan. 15 and Tuesday during the day when no one was home, all were in somewhat rural areas and all the burglary victims reported that firearms were stolen.

None of the residents of the houses were able to provide investigators with serial numbers for the guns.

“Stolen firearms can be traded or sold on the streets,” Wilson said. “They can be sold for drugs or used to commit other crimes.”

Wilson said that it is important for gun owners to record serial and model numbers of their firearms and lock them in a safe.

“If we don’t have a serial number, it makes it harder for law enforcement to identify the owner of a stolen firearm or any other piece of property,” he said.

The sheriff’s department encourages all citizens to record such information as serial numbers and photograph jewelry so that it can be easily identified.

Dwayne Meriweather of Shelter Insurance in Columbia said most people with large collections should insure them, recording identifying information in the process.

“Guns are usually insured under a separate policy, and the serial numbers are usually listed there,” he said. “People have to prepare separate documentation of their guns to be insured.”

Wilson says that patrols have been increased in the areas where the burglaries occurred, and sheriff’s deputies are looking for suspicious vehicles.

“Lock your doors, let your neighbors know if you are going out of town,” he said. “If something doesn’t look right, give us a call we’ll come check it out.”

Wilson emphasized that while the recent incidents may be linked, they are unrelated to the home invasions in Columbia last month.

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