Rochester police ask public to report stolen guns; 7 guns stolen this year

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(ABC 6 News) – Rochester police are on high alert as a number of guns have been stolen out of people’s cars throughout the last few years.

It is not just the theft that has the Rochester Police Dept. concerned, it is also the safety of the community.

The number of stolen guns so far in 2023 has decreased, but police say any guns making its way to the black market is dangerous for everyone.

According to RPD, there have been seven guns stolen out of people’s vehicles in 2023 as of October.

In 2022, there were 46.

Olmsted County District Attorney Mark Ostrem says the decrease could be due to the fact that less guns are being stolen this year compared to last. However, he also says it could be because people are not reporting guns when they are stolen.

RPD says that it is up to gun owners to be responsible and to make sure a weapon is not getting into the wrong hands.

“Leaving a loaded firearm in an unlocked motor vehicle is really easy for a thief to get access to,” said Capt. Aaron Penning with RPD. “We would like people to take a few more steps in securing the firearm and not leaving it in a motor vehicle where it is accessible.”

Ostrem agrees and says he understands sometimes the theft is not the gunowners fault. But if there is gross negligence involved, it could risk a future gun permit getting renewed.

He also adds that if someone is caught with a gun but without a permit, the justice system will not be understanding.

“If you’re not eligible to possess a firearm you better not, because we are not going to give anyone a break on that kind of stuff,” Ostrem said. “The amount of gun violence going on in our communities is generally just way too high so if there is any message I can send, it is that I’m not going to give anyone a break.”

Ostrem also says to make sure that registration is up to date. If you’re gun is stolen, it helps police track it down.

If you have had a gun stolen and have not reported it, Ostrem and police say that it is crucial that you do to keep everyone safe.