LEESBURG, Ga. (WALB) - AR-15 rifles and other weapons are being taken from unlocked vehicles in Lee County, and whether your vehicle is locked or not, crooks are after the items you left in your car.
“The only thing between that thief and your valuables is one single windowpane, and they are gonna bust it,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Chris Allen. “We’re also asking for the citizens help in trying to keep these guns and these valuables out of their vehicles.”
However, the Lee County Sheriffs Office said over the past few months it has seen a big increase in entering auto cases where vehicles are being left unlocked with valuables, like guns, left inside.
“We’ve ramped up patrols and changed patrol techniques,” said Sgt. Allen.
Allen said thieves will take anything that seems appealing to them like purses, laptops — but especially guns.
Lee County investigators said several semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles have been taken from unlocked and locked vehicles over the past couple of months.
“And we gotta make sure as responsible gun owners that we know where they are and that they are in a safe environment at all times,” said Allen.
Sgt. Allen said some of the reported stolen guns from Lee County are being used in homicides, drive-by shootings and armed robberies in other counties like next door in Dougherty County.
“We’ve had stolen weapons end up in states all over the country, but a lot of them were recovered locally. We’ve got a very good working relationship with the Albany Police Department and they recovered several of our stolen weapons and those weapons are usually recovered during the commission of a crime,” explained Sgt. Allen.
Allen said you should always remember to lock your vehicle and don’t get too comfortable with your community because crooks can strike any neighborhood — and yours could be next.
He said reported entering auto cases usually increase around this time of year.
However, he said that luckily they haven’t seen that many this week.