Oct 20, 2015

In wake of recent thefts, sheriff reminds residents to secure their guns

Roughly a dozen guns were reported as stolen over the past month in rural Park County — and Sheriff Scott Steward is reminding residents to secure and record their firearms.

While investigating several recent burglaries, the Sheriff’s Office says it has found that some victims not only failed to secure their firearms — making them easy targets for thieves — but also failed to record their weapons, making them difficult to identify.

Sheriff Scott Steward
“I think securing firearms is more common sense,” Steward said in a Friday statement. “However, it is just as important to record the identity of weapons so that they can be positively identified in the future.”

A total of 13 guns were reported stolen in the Powell, Cody and Meeteetse areas between Sept. 10 and Oct. 9, according to Sheriff’s Office records.

In perhaps the most notable incident, three guns were taken from two unlocked vehicles parked on Meeteetse’s South Street on Sept. 28. That was part of a spree of burglaries and a break-in. The following day, another gun owner on Meeteetse’s Franklin Street reported discovering that a shotgun was missing from her residence, according to Sheriff’s Office logs.

While the reports were all made in recent days, it’s not clear that all of the thefts were recent.

For example, a citizen reported on Sept. 10 that four guns and accessories had been stolen from his Lane 8 home in rural Powell, but he didn’t know when they had gone missing.

As another example, one resident in rural Cody — who reported a gun as stolen on Oct. 9 — apparently discovered his weapon was missing only after his home caught on fire and an insurance inspection didn’t locate the firearm.

A number of the recently reported thefts were not traditional burglaries, either, with several possibly involving family members stealing from family members. For example, a citizen in rural Cody reported on Oct. 2 that his son-in-law had stolen a gun and sold it to a Powell pawn shop.

In Friday’s statement, Sheriff Steward recommended locking your house when you’re gone and storing weapons in a secure location, preferably a safe. He also advised against leaving weapons in unlocked vehicles.

(In addition to the thefts in Meeteetse, someone reportedly stole a gun from a 4-wheeler while it was parked at a trailhead in the Clark area on Aug. 4.)

“Often we become complacent in these security measures, but thieves are out there and there’s no need for us to make their job any easier,” Steward said in the statement.

He urged gun owners to take the time to record the type, make, model and — most importantly — the serial number of all of their guns. He also suggested taking photographs of them.


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