Thousands of Car Break-Ins, Hundreds of Guns Stolen in Upstate - WSPA.com

Thousands of Car Break-Ins, Hundreds of Guns Stolen in Upstate

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Greenville Police, Greenville County Sheriff's Office and Anderson County Sheriff's Office all saw a jump in the number of car break-ins in 2013 over the year before. Greenville Police, Greenville County Sheriff's Office and Anderson County Sheriff's Office all saw a jump in the number of car break-ins in 2013 over the year before.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -

Law enforcement records show crooks broke into thousands of cars and stole hundreds of guns in the upstate last year.

Greenville Police said there were more than 800 car break-ins in the city in 2013 and 49 firearms were stolen from those vehicles.

In Anderson County, nearly 1,400 cars were broken into and 190 guns were stolen out of them last year.

Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies responded to nearly 1,900 car break-ins in 2013. Records show 125 guns were reported stolen out of those cars.

It's a problem that's become a growing drain on police resources.

“Autobreakings alone are a very sore subject for law enforcement because it's so frustrating for us just to see how many there are each year," said Greenville Police Public Information Officer Johnathan Bragg.

Greenville Police, Greenville County Sheriff's Office and Anderson County Sheriff's Office all saw a jump in the number of car break-ins in 2013 over the year before.

In Greenville, nearly 44 percent of the cars broken into last year were unlocked.

In Anderson County, 78 percent were unlocked.

The number of guns stolen out of upstate cars is going up as well.

“For law enforcement, that's very concerning just because most people aren't going to sell those, they're going to use those for personal use. And these are criminals that are breaking into cars and stealing guns. So they're obviously going to use these guns to go commit more crimes," said Bragg.

Co-owner of Allen Arms gun store and shooting range, Curtis Allen, said customers come to him once or twice a month saying their gun was stolen and they don't know the serial number. The former Greenville County Sheriff's deputy's store keeps a digital database of every gun sold, but he said a gun owner’s best bet is to keep a record of that number now in case law enforcement needs it later.

“The only way you're going to recover it is to be able to provide them the serial number," said Allen.

Allen said you should take extra precautions if you leave your gun in your car.

“Your doors locked, your windows up, and if you're going to choose to leave it in your car, leave it in a compartment that you can lock too -- as many safeties, as many barriers as you can create," said Allen.

Bragg said criminals are looking for cars that have valuables in plain sight, so make sure you don't leave your purse or even spare change out in the open. If you have a GPS, police recommend you should not just take your device off the windshield -- take the stand off the windshield too.

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office numbers show that county is seeing a steady decrease in the trend of car break-ins over the past few years. Last year, Spartanburg County deputies responded to 662 car break-ins. That's down from 811 in 2012 and 969 in 2011. The sheriff's office said it did not have records of how many of those cars were unlocked or how many guns were stolen from those vehicles.

Related:

Off the Streets: Keeping Guns Out of Criminals' Hands
Family Catches Suspected Robber On-Cam in Simpsonville

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Jenna Troum
Jenna is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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