Fears after theft of 12 guns
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.