The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reports that the number of guns stolen from Colorado gun stores doubled during 2016According to the ATF’s report, there were 56 guns stolen from Colorado gun stores in 2014. In 2015, that statistic more than doubled to 121 guns. In 2016, however, the number of stolen guns skyrocketed to 273. Colorado’s uptick mirrored the national trend. In 2016, there was a total of 7,858 guns stolen in robberies and burglaries across the country. “We are very concerned about the rise in gun thefts. These guns will not be used for hunting or sport; they are destined for future crimes and are a threat to public and officer safety,” ATF Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Debora Livingston said in a statement.
ATF is working closely with all the affected police departments in the Denver Metro Area to identify and arrest suspects, recover guns and prevent future thefts. We are also frequently communicating with gun dealers in the Metro Area to inform them of the rise in break-ins and help them better protect their store and inventory.”
In the past year, 15 suspects have been arrested in connection to gun store robberies in Colorado. A total of 55 stolen firearms have been recovered. Most of the thefts last year were after-hours and the majority of guns stolen were handguns. In a statement, the ATF declared that they believe most of the gun store robberies in 2016 were connected and not the work of copycats. In 2013, Colorado implemented a universal background check law requiring all firearm sales – both private and through a dealer – to be accompanied by an FBI background check. As crime guns become harder to purchase, criminals are instead turning to robbing gun stores. The ATF continues to offer rewards for information concerning active investigations. Anyone with information about the robberies is encouraged to contact the ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867) or Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867.
Local Denver reality TV star Richard Wyatt was convicted in Federal court of illegally selling guns.