RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The ATF is working with gun dealers, pawn shops and collectors to make them aware of burglaries and violent armed robberies happening in North and South Carolina.
Last year in the Carolinas, 369 firearms were stolen from dealers and pawn shops. In this year alone, there have been more than 930 stolen.
That’s the highest rate in the country.
The ATF Charlotte field division wants to decrease the number of gun thefts in the Carolinas.
There have been more than 80 reports of burglaries or robberies of federal firearms licenses in the Carolinas this year.
Many of the stolen firearms taken in the South end up in northern states. New York had close to 8,000 firearms recovered last year, nearly a quarter of those were traced back to southern states.
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“It is extremely alarming. That is why it’s a priority for ATF and our investigative partners to identify and apprehend these individuals and most importantly once we apprehend them recover the firearms. Keep them. Return them to the lawful owners, but most importantly keep them out of the hands of criminals,” said Agent Gerod King, public information officer of the ATF Charlotte Field Division.
Clay Ausley, owner of Fuquay Gun and Gold, has noticed the increase of thefts in South and North Carolina. The high number of robberies made his shop look into tighter security measures.
“It seems like It has been moving up into North Carolina. I know the western part of the state has been getting hit a bit. Frankly it spurred me to have a conversation with our local departments to make sure that our security measures are tight as they possible could be,” Ausley said.
The ATF is currently working on a letter to send to more than 4,000 license dealers in the Carolinas, advising owners of the current crime trends.