It could be a handgun, a shotgun, or even a rifle – dozens were stolen in Joplin city limits last year. It’s a growing trend that police are keeping a close eye on.
There were more than 100 taken last year. That ranges from rifles and shotguns to dozens of handguns.
“People have a habit of stealing things,” says John Woods.
John Woods of Joplin knows that firsthand. His handgun was stolen out of his pickup up truck and he hasn’t gotten it back.
“Not yet,” he says.
That theft is part of what Joplin police are calling a troubling trend, more and more guns stolen in city limits.
“In 2018, we saw 114 guns stolen in the city of Joplin which is up from the year before, which is about a gun every three days, so that’s concerning, that’s a lot of guns that are hitting the streets, hitting the community that shouldn’t be,” says JPD Capt. Trevor Duncan.
And officers are concerned about what happens next.
“We all know stolen guns are used to commit crimes,” says Capt. Duncan.
Last year, handguns were the most frequent loss – 82 of the weapons stolen with rifles and shotguns filling out the list.
“Guns that are stolen sometimes never turn up but when they do turn up it’s usually a considerable amount of time later and it’s usually a good distance away,” says Capt. Duncan.
When they do turn up, it’s not always a gun stolen locally.
“By running the serial number We know when it was reported stolen, where it was reported stolen, what jurisdiction it’s coming from. And we see guns stolen from other states, other cities in the area,” says Capt. Duncan.
Numbers in 2018 represent a ten percent increase from the year before. That includes at least one high profile case where a Joplin High School student was taken into custody with a stolen gun in his backpack. There’s more on the trend here.