West Plains Police Chief Stephen Monticelli

Officials with the West Plains Police Department report there have been several recent complaints of thefts of guns, taken while kept in unlocked vehicles.

In light of this, the authorities remind the public that, many times, unrecovered firearms end up with convicted felons and others who are not legally allowed to own firearms.

In some of the cases, the firearms have been recovered and returned, but in others, the guns are still missing.

“The West Plains Police Department would like to stress the importance of making sure firearms are secured at all times,” said Public Information Officer John Murrell in a statement recently released by the department. “When firearms are stolen, they often end up in the hands of people who should not legally have them which creates a hazard to the community.”

Officers remind gun owners that if they keep a firearm in a vehicle, they should lock the vehicle and double check to make sure it is locked, and to keep the firearm hidden. If a vehicle is going to be left at a repair shop or in a long-term/commuter parking area, they add, it is a good practice to remove them and secure them at home instead.

In general, deer hunting firearms season, which runs through Tuesday, is also a time when firearms might be left in an unsecured vehicle. Late youth season, during which young hunters may also use firearms to harvest their deer, is Nov. 27 through 29.

"We are asking for your help to keep our community safe by making sure there is no possible way your firearm becomes a tool for someone with dangerous intentions," Murrell cautioned.

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