Thief steals gun from unlocked SUV

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First at Five, February 19, 2008

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.---A thief had easy access to a gun, deputies say, after four early morning break-ins into vehicles at West Lake subdivision. They say three of the four vehicles, including the one with the gun, were left unlocked.

Steven Fishman says he loves owning a gun shop because he gets to meet lots of interesting people. He calls himself a gun enthusiast, but says if you own a gun, you have to keep it safe.

"The reality is, is that if a gun's locked and away, it's just a safer item," he said.

But that's exactly what did not happen in the West Lake subdivision in Columbia County.

Reports show a burglar broke into an SUV and took a nine millimeter gun.

The SUV was unlocked, with the gun found in a console.

"What we do not want to see is victims leaving weapons behind so the suspects can get their hands on them," said Captain Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

He says it's a good idea to not only take weapons out of your car, but any other valuable items as well.

"If you can't for whatever reason, at least secure that vehicle," he said.

He says out of all vehicle break-ins in the county, more than half are unlocked.

Fishman says whether you keep your gun in your car or in your home, there are ways to keep it safer.

"[A trigger lock] disables the pistol itself and disables the trigger so the gun cannot be fired," he said.

A padlock can also keep a gun from being easily fired.

A safe can also help. Some even look like jewelry boxes or radios so they are not recognizable.

Fishman says the best way, though, is to keep a gun where people can't see it.

"Without seeing the gun, people aren't fascinated and aren't motivated to touch the firearm," he said.

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