Ballinger PD asks for assistance from citizens as gun thefts spike

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

BALLINGER - Over the last few days a spike in firearm thefts from vehicles left unlocked has the Ballinger Police Department concerned. Ballinger PD corporal Suzanne Torres appeared on the KRUN Jeff & Bill in the Morning Show to ask the public's help in stopping the thefts and preventing future thefts, "We have a lot of folks getting guns stolen out of their vehicles. Over the last two or three days we've had three weapons stolen."

An increase in firearm thefts from unlocked vehicles over the last couple of days has the Ballinger Police Department asking for the public's assistance in preventing future incidents.

According to Torres, the vehicles the weapons were stolen from were left unlocked and parked out in the open, "People come home tired and forget to lock their cars. These aren't vehicles that are hidden away. They're are parked right on the roadway and these guys (thieves) are checking them late in the evenings."

Torres said that the Ballinger PD has some suggestions for helping to prevent thefts and burglaries, "We've noticed that people aren't leaving their home lights on, so it is not deterring anyone with all of the darkness. It's very tempting for folks to want to do this (thefts). Rifles, pistols, those are all dangerous weapons. Something is happening because the vehicles in the theft had other items in them, such as medication and tools, but they weren't taken."

Torres said that the spike over the last couple of days has the police department deeply concerned with those weapons now on the street, "We cannot have those guns out there in the hands of people who are not supposed to have them. We'd like for everybody's assistance. Please be OCD about locking your property, locking your homes, please get game cameras or motion activated lighting around your homes."

One step Torres said that is key to a person recovering their stolen weapons is documenting the weapon's serial number, "Take a picture of your firearm. Take a picture of the serial number. Please help us try to find these guns. I don't care how old a gun is. It can be twenty or thirty years old and is a family heirloom, please make a documentation of it so that we have something to go on."

According to a 2019 Department of Justice report, "An estimated 287,400 prisoners had possessed a firearm during their offense. Among these, more than half (56%) had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43%). Most of the remainder (25%) had obtained it from a family member or friend."

Those numbers show that 160,944 crimes in 2016 were committed with a stolen firearm or had found it at the scene of the crime.