SEATAC, Wash. - King County Sheriff's officials say they’ve seen an increase in guns stolen from cars and want holiday travelers to be extra cautious this year.
“We always have car break-ins, that’s a normal thing, but the fact that guns are now being stolen on top of it and we’re seeing an increase in that is concerning,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Abbott says law enforcement officers have seen an increase in gun thefts at Sea-Tac Airport recently. Abbot says travelers carrying concealed weapons will leave their gun in the car to avoid issues at the airport. That's how crooks are getting their hands on these guns.
Abbott says thieves will target long-term parking lots, knowing owners of the cars will not return for a while, and steal whatever is inside.
Abbott says it’s a crime of opportunity, but what that is leading to dangerous consequences.
“Most of the time they’re selling them for a cheap price to someone else that shouldn’t have a gun,” said Abbott.
Another big issue is these crimes sometimes take a while to report. Abbot says that's because the victims are traveling and don’t realize there has been a theft for a while.
“They go four or five days, maybe a month, they’re out of town,” said Abbott.
Abbott says the best thing you can do to avoid any issues is leave your gun at home.
He also says for anyone, not just gun owners, traveling during the holidays, remember to lock your car. This is the biggest way to prevent crimes of opportunity.
Abbott also says never leave valuables inside of your vehicle. If that is not a possibility, make sure nothing of value is visible.