(Before It's News)
DENVER – The number of firearms stolen from Colorado gun dealers more than doubled in 2016, reaching a 10-year high of 273 guns.
In comparison, 121 guns were stolen from Colorado gun dealers in 2015 and 56 guns in 2014.
Colorado mirrors a national uptick in guns stolen from dealers. In 2016, 7,858 guns were stolen in robberies and burglaries across the country, the highest number on record.
“We are very concerned about the rise in gun thefts. These guns will not be used for hunting or sport; they are destined for future crimes and are a threat to public and officer safety,” ATF Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Debora Livingston said. “ATF is working closely with all the affected police departments in the Denver Metro Area to identify and arrest suspects, recover guns and prevent future thefts. We are also frequently communicating with gun dealers in the Metro Area to inform them of the rise in break-ins and help them better protect their store and inventory.”
Over the past year, ATF and local police departments in the Denver Metro Area arrested 15 suspects and recovered 55 firearms stolen from dealers in 2016, some at the scenes of violent crimes.
“We believe now that many of last year’s Denver Metro Area burglaries are at least loosely connected, and are not copycat burglaries,” said Livingston.
Most of the thefts were after-hours burglaries, and handguns made up about 63 percent of the total stolen firearms.