MOLINE, Illinois - Moline Police shared a warning for gun owners on July 31, after a dozen guns had been reported stolen in 2019.
Moline Police Detective Michael Griffin said most of the guns were stolen out of unlocked cars.
Police say thieves target unlocked vehicles.
"They're finding firearms that are legally owned by the owners either in the glove box, in the center counsel, under the seat and they're stealing them," said Griffin.
Griffin calls the stolen guns a public safety concern, saying that the guns are sometimes traded on the street for drugs and money. He adds that the guns can also end up in the hands of gang members.
"These guns are not used for target shooting at the range on the weekend. These guns are used for illegal activities and very dangerous activities,"
Detective Griffin said the most recent stolen gun report was taken on Wednesday, July 31.
He said the thieves broke in to a locked car using a spare key and were able to find a gun.
Gun owner Amber Sharp said that's why, even when her car is locked, she is extra cautious.
She keeps a gun safe, small enough to fit under her seat, in her vehicle.
Sharp says it's a simple and responsible solution to the growing concerns of gun theft.
The gun is tethered, so it can't be pulled out of the car and requires a combination to access the weapon.
"As a gun owner, you should always take every precaution possible to make sure your weapon doesn't get into the wrong hands," said Sharp who said there will always be people breaking the law.
She says it is up to the gun owner to know the best way to protect their weapons.
Now, police are hoping to use surveillance to try and track down thieves, and hope this warning can help remind gun owners to lock-it-up.
"When you lock your vehicles at night, take your keys inside, remove your valuables. Your work computers, your laptops, your I-Pads, and remove your firearms. Don't leave them in there," said Griffin.