Fears af­ter theft of 12 guns

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

PO­LICE have ex­pressed fears af­ter the theft of 12 more hand­guns, this time from an in­nercity house dur­ing the day.

“It’s of ma­jor con­cern for us,” Sergeant Paul Vo­jkovich said.

The hand­guns were re­ported taken from the Mt Hawthorn home of a li­censed gun owner be­tween mid­day and 2.50pm last Tues­day.

Burglars are be­lieved to have found the keys to a gun safe in the house.

The guns ranged in cal­i­bre from .22 to .45, and in­cluded weapons made by Smith and Wes­son, Colt, CZ, Ruger, Tau­rus and Tan­foglio.

In March, more than 130 hand­guns were taken in a night raid on a Beck­en­ham gun shop, and the pre­vi­ous month po­lice re­ported 77 guns had been stolen across the Great South­ern since Au­gust last year.

In Mt Hawthorn, the owner had left the house for a short time. The hand­guns, com­pris­ing re­volvers and pis­tols, were se­cured in a firearms safe but po­lice do not be­lieve any am­mu­ni­tion was taken.

Sgt Vo­jkovich said two dark­skinned men and a dark-skinned woman were seen walk­ing along a street in the area at the time of the bur­glary but it was un­clear if they were in­volved in the theft.

Po­lice seize about 1000 guns from crim­i­nals in WA each year, in­clud­ing 763 re­ported seizures of hand­guns in 2014 and 2015 com­bined.

It is sus­pected that many guns stolen in WA head to eastern states crim­i­nals.

WA Po­lice Union act­ing pres­i­dent Bran­don Short­land said firearms posed “a real threat” and the union was con­cerned about the risks fol­low­ing the re­cent thefts.

“We have heard many anec­dotes from mem­bers where they have con­ducted a rou­tine traf­fic stop and have found weapons, in­clud­ing loaded firearms, in the ve­hi­cle,” Mr Short­land said.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Michelle Roberts has dis­cussed all the firearms thefts with Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Karl O’cal­laghan.

“Any­thing which makes the stor­age of firearms more se­cure would be some­thing wel­comed by our Gov­ern­ment,” Mrs Roberts said.

Mr O’cal­laghan is cur­rently look­ing at pro­posed Law Re­form Com­mis­sion changes to gun safety laws and pos­si­ble in­creases in penal­ties for peo­ple found with il­le­gal guns.

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