RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond police said there were more than 450 guns reported stolen in the city in 2019. With more than half taken from cars, which are sometimes left unlocked, authorities are labeling the problem a public safety concern.
Police seized more than half a dozen guns from one car during a New Year’s Eve traffic stop in Richmond.
It was 10 p.m. when officers pulled over 38-year-old Sean Brownlee in the 400 block of West Ladies Mile Road. Brownlee tried to run but police caught up, searched the car and made a big find.
“They found a bag with seven firearms in it,” Lt. David Naoroz told 8News.
Lt. Naoroz says all of the guns were illegally possessed and at least one of the firearms was reported stolen. Brownlee has been arrested on weapons violations. Court records show he has a long rap sheet.
“This took seven out of the hands of an individual who was not supposed to have them in the first place,” Naoroz said about the guns police seized.
The incident is shedding new light on a growing problem with stolen guns in the City of Richmond. Police say the issue raises concerns because the stolen guns are often used in other crimes or sold on the street.
“The numbers haven’t slowed down,” Naoroz explained. “We had one recently that was stolen and used in a shooting a week later.”
According to Richmond police, more than 450 guns were reported stolen in 2019 and even more concerning, 270 were stolen from parked cars.
“Some of that was unlocked motor vehicles,” Naoroz told 8News.
Despite several public service announcements and social media campaigns from police some gun owners are still failing to take the proper steps to secure their weapons.
Officers say people are leaving their weapons under the seat, in the middle console and unlocked in the glove box. Richmond police say if you have to leave your gun in car lock it up in the trunk inside a lockbox.
In the City of Richmond, gun owners are required to report any lost or stolen guns within 24 hours or they could face a fine. In October, Richmond City Council passed the ordinance proposed by Mayor Levar Stoney. Under the ordinance, offenders could face a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fee for any subsequent offenses.
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